By: Cheaper utility bills | posted in News & Stories |
Date: September 20th, 2010
Historic Marshall Michigan has long been known as the fountain of the old world charm, but now it stuck in a river of trouble.
“The full creek was solid pack full of oil.” said John Laforge, Marshall, Michigan Resident.
On the morning of July 26, part of the world’s longest petroleum pipeline stretching 19,000 miles between US and Canada ruptured. Purring at least 800,000 gallons of crude oil into the water ways surrounded this scenic town. Fouling the air with nauseating odour, treating the water and as seen on this home video drenching the wild life.
Now that mess has turned into another one. The Canadian energy giant that owns the pipeline, ENBRIDGE is accused of deceptive tactics by dozens of home owners affected by the spoil.
“They don’t know what they’re signing and they’re signing away a lot of their rights…” said John Laforge.
In a joint investigation with The Center for Public Integrity, CBS News obtained these two documents. One is this settlement form “Release / Full and Final Settlement”. Some residents claim the company coercing them into signing for a $300 dollars air purifier and some evacuation expenses. In exchange to release ENBRIDGE from and against all liability, claims, actions, causes of action, costs, and expenses, including without limitation claims for personal injuries, property damage, that Claimant(s) ever had, has or may have against the Enbridge…. The company dispute that.
The other document was this release form. Allowing Enbridge access to any and all medical records. One that had to be signed residents claimed before Enbridge would pay for a visit to a clinic.
Residents in this mobile home park (Baker’s Mobile Home Village) charged they were deceived by Enbridge.
“It was more or less sign your name here and you know you’re done.” said Nancy Morgan, Battle Creek, Michigan resident.
Now the company allege actions had the head of the powerful congressional committee outraged.
“This is exploitation of unknowing and unskilled people who had never faced a situation like this before.” said James Oberstar, Chairman of House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.
Terri Larson is a spoke person for Enbridge.
“Why in the world would you asked people in this community to sign those forms?”, asked CBS News reporter.
“They’re standard forms, there’s nothing abnormal about those forms.” said Terri Larson. But the federal government says there is nothing standard about them.
Expressing concerns in this letter that Enbridge’s medical form, “…authorize the discloser of inappropriately broad amount of medical information…”
“Are you familiar with the word of The Department of Health and Human Services used in conjunction of that form?” asked CBS News report.
“No” reply Terri Larson.
“Deplorable, that’s the word they use and what you say to that?” said CBS News reporter.
“Again, it’s a standard form, I mean, our intent was good. Our intent was to do the right thing by the residents of these communities.”
Enbridge now says it has discontinued using the forms and hired a former Detroit Mayer to oversee the claims process.
Still, the congressman James Oberstar is calling for a federal investigation into this oil mess.
By Armen Keteyian CBS News, Marshall, Michigan.
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