Bell's Brewery files suit against Enbridge and Comstock Commerce Park developer

Jul 24, 2013

Bell’s Brewery has filed a lawsuit against Enbridge and the developer of Comstock Commerce Park.

The suit concerns the dredging plans for the Kalamazoo River. Dredging the river is a part of an ongoing effort to clean up the oil spill that happened three years ago.

Residents and business owners – such as Larry Bell of Bell’s Brewery – have expressed concern about the potential pollution that will be caused by the dredging effort.

Ursula Zerilli of MLive had the following report on the dredging operation:

Enbridge entered a lease agreement with CCP Development Co., developer of Comstock Commerce Park, and last month installed a dredge pad and other equipment in preparation for dredging at a delta near Morrow Lake. The dredge pad is near the Krum Avenue production facility of Bell's Brewery, which has plans to expand in the commerce park.

Enbridge was ordered in March by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to do additional dredging in the Kalamazoo River as part of its cleanup from a massive 2010 oil spill.

Comstock Township wasn't notified of the current project before preparation work on the dredge pad began, and several residents and business owners have expressed concern over potential pollution. Township Supervisor Anne Nieuwenhuis said she believes Enbridge is placing the dredge pad in the wrong location.

The lawsuit primarily stems from Bell Brewery’s fear that dredging will negatively impact the brewery’s operations and it accuses Enbridge and the developers of operation violations. Zerilli of MLive reported:

The Bell's lawsuit, filed Monday in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court, says the planned dredging will "release pollution, hazardous substances, odor, dust and particulate" which could negatively impact brewery operations.

The complaint alleges Enbridge violated condominium covenants by failing to submit a site plan application before installing equipment. It also alleges that CCP, as developer of the commerce park, violated the Michigan Condominium Act by failing to disclose to the condominium association its intent to lease property to Enbridge.

Larry Bell, founder and president of Bell's Brewery, has met with [an] EPA official about his concerns and spoke out against the dredging plans at a township meeting.

"The EPA doesn’t know what is in the sediment," Bell said July 9. "They don’t know what they are dredging up. They are going to put it next to my brewery and they don’t know what contaminants are there."

-Julia Field, Michigan Radio Newsroom