Clean water fund set up after South Carolina gas spill suit

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Courtesy: City of Greenville

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina county will benefit from $1.5 million secured by environmental groups in a lawsuit over one of the largest gas pipeline spills in state history.

The Southern Environmental Law Center announced the settlement Friday, the Greenville News reported. The money is earmarked for projects that protect or restore water quality in Anderson County.

In 2014, a pipeline controlled by energy company Kinder Morgan spilled more than 350,000 gallons of gasoline in the county that eventually reached a nearby creek. Two years later, the groups Upstate Forever and the Savannah Riverkeeper sued the company in federal court under the Clean Water Act.

“We took full responsibility and committed to a complete and thorough remediation of the site,” Kinder Morgan said in a statement. “We will continue to work with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to finish this remediation.”

The $1.5 million will be administered by the conservation groups. The money will also go toward projects that increase awareness and participation in water quality issues throughout the county.

“We stepped in to protect these important water resources and the communities that depend upon them,” said Andrea Cooper, executive director of Upstate Forever. “This fund will be administered with input from Anderson County to restore and protect the waters of this important watershed.”

The lawsuit was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court last year. The company argued the pollution did not directly reach the creek because it entered groundwater first. The high court ruled in a different case that groundwater was covered under the Clean Water Act.

The site continues to be monitored for chemicals stemming from the spill.

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