New Legislation Focuses on Great Lakes Pipeline Safety
US Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow have introduced a group of bills that would increase pipeline safety in and around the Great Lakes, accounting for the unique needs of the local ecosystem.
In summary, these proposed bills would;
• raise liability caps for Great Lakes pipeline operators
• expand and clarify the US Secretary of Transportation’s authority to suspend or shut down unsafe oil pipelines
• strengthen federal review of oil spill response plans
• increase transparency surrounding oil spill response and clean-up plans
• create a Coast Guard Expertise Center to study freshwater oil spills
• change the designation of Great Lakes pipelines from onshore to offshore
• require more harmonization between the agencies with cleanup efforts
“The Great Lakes ecosystem is unlike any other in the world, and many existing pipeline safety rules and regulations do not adequately protect this precious resource from a disastrous oil spill,” Senator Peters, member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.
These actions build on previous efforts by Senators Peters and Stabenow to increase pipeline safety in the Great Lakes. In 2015, Peters and Stabenow introduced legislation to strengthen pipeline oversight, and to improve response plans for oil spills under ice-covered waters. These provisions were included in the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act, or PIPES Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in 2016.