This Is the Worst

Great Lakes oil spill


Gary Peters and Debbie StabenowMLive.com (Peters) and AP data

By U.S. Sens. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, and Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing

An oil spill on Great Lakes would-be devastating - and unfortunately, Michigan people understand firsthand the damaging consequences a pipeline break may have on our state.

5 years ago, our state practiced one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. record, contaminating 35 miles associated with Kalamazoo River. Oil flowed for almost 17 hours before it had been shut down, spilling over 800, 000 gallons of hefty crude, and accumulating a cleanup cost of $1.2 billion.

We are deeply worried about the potential for future spills in Michigan - specially from Line 5, a couple of 60-year old gas and oil pipelines that lie exposed into the water at the bottom of this Straits of Mackinac. The Straits happen called the "worst possible spot" for an oil spill in the whole Great Lakes basin. The currents there will reverse direction often, moving liquid for a price over 10 times more than the movement over Niagara Falls.

Mackinac Island established fact as a spectacular holiday spot where site visitors started to enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides and some of Michigan's many stunning scenery. But according to study through the University of Michigan, an oil spill inside Straits could mean oil lapping on the shores of Mackinac Island in just 12 hours.

A lot more unpleasant is coast-guard officials have acknowledged that present response techniques for submerged oil are insufficient for available freshwater or ice address. And condition and local officials have actually struggled to acquire information to assist them to plan spills.

* calling for separate assessments of oil spill response and cleaning tasks for Great Lakes - especially taking into consideration a spill under solid ice.

* calling for an examination of dangers connected with pipelines in the Great Lakes and local waterways, including an evaluation of options to Line 5.

* Increasing transparency so residents are notified about pipelines near their house, and compelling providers and regulators to make additional information publicly readily available.

* Expanding the requirements for pipelines in "high consequence areas" - creating jobs for pipefitters and designers - while protecting populace centers, normal water, and eco sensitive areas.

* forbidding the shipment of crude oil on the Great Lakes. Tanker vessels cannot currently deliver crude oil in the Great Lakes, but it is progressively becoming looked at as a transportation alternative. Taking this program from the table will avoid the risk of an environmental disaster just like the Exxon Valdez spill.

Our bill is supported by a broad array of organizations, such as the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, For Love of liquid (FLOW), Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen's Association, nationwide Wildlife Federation, Alliance for Great Lakes and much more.

The Great Lakes are a major element of our way of life in Michigan, supporting our multibillion-dollar agriculture, shipping and tourism companies, additionally the threat of an oil spill needs immediate activity. As U.S. senators through the Great Lakes State, we're devoted to working to guarantee we meet our power needs properly while protecting treasures like Great Lakes for future generations.

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