Sunken Hazard: Aging Oil Pipelines Beneath The Straits Of Mackinac
October 19, 2012 11:13 AM
Joyce grantee warns of risk posed by aging pipelines in Lake Michigan.
Aging oil pipelines abound in the Great Lakes and two pipelines, which run at the bottom of the Straights of Mackinaw, could quickly contaminate the Great Lakes if they ever ruptured. The National Wildlife Federation, a longtime Joyce Environment Program grantee, issued a report warning of the hazards the aging pipeline poses to the lakes, which contain 90 percent of the country’s freshwater and provide drinking water to 35 million Americans.
Each day the pipelines carry 20 million gallons of crude oil and natural gas through Lake Michigan just west of the Mackinac Bridge. If either of those pipelines leaked, the resulting oil slick would likely devastate some of the lakes’ most bountiful fisheries, wildlife refuges, municipal drinking water supplies and one of the region’s most popular tourist attractions: Mackinac Island. Increasing the risk, Enbridge Energy, the company that owns and operates the pipelines, plans to expand them further. Critics of the expansion plan have called for more safety measures to protect the lakes.
The report, Sunken hazard: Aging oil pipelines beneath the Straits of Mackinac, an ever-present threat to the Great Lakes, suggests a variety of remedies, which include additional oversight from state and federal agencies, increased maintenance capacity to respond to leaks immediately and the full replacement of the aging pipelines.
Download the report
Press Release: New Report Details Major Pipeline Threat to Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press: National Wildlife Federation warns of Enbridge's Straits of Mackinac plans