Senate Bill Designed to Prevent Oil Spill in Great Lakes

Sep 24, 2015

File photo of reopening of Kalamazoo River in 2012
Credit WMUK

U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow have introduced legislation designed to prevent oil spills on the Great Lakes. The Michigan Democrats unveiled the bills on Wednesday.  Peters joined WMUK to discuss the proposals.

The Pipeline Improvement and Preventing Spills Act  would ban the shipping of crude oil on the Great Lakes. Peters says while that's not happening now, it is being discussed, and he wants to preempt any effort to start. 

Peters says the bill would also provide tougher regulations and oversight on pipelines. He says that includes the oil pipeline running through the Straits of Mackinac. Peters says it would require a risk analysis and to evaluate alternatives if that pipeline is shut down. He says the legislation will also improve response plans to account for ice cover on the Great Lakes. 

A pipeline rupture near Marshall caused a massive oil spill on the Kalamazoo River. Peters says more should be done to improve pipeline safety. He says the proposed legislation would identify "high consequence areas" such as the Great Lakes basin and require additional safety measures. 

Peters says he is "cautiously optimistic" that the legislation can make it through the Senate.