WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Representatives Dave Trott (MI-11) and Debbie Dingell (MI-12) introduced the Preserve Our Lakes and Keep our Environment Safe (LAKES) Act, which would require the Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) to terminate the operation of Enbridge's Line 5 should a 12-month comprehensive study required by the legislation find the pipeline poses a significant risk.
"Accounting for one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water, the Great Lakes are one of the most critical ecosystems in the entire world. Supporting over $20 billion in recreation and commercial industries a year they are also a backbone of not only Michigan's economy, but the entire country," said Rep. Trott. "However, more than 23 million gallons of contaminants are transported under the Straits of Mackinac every day, and while I understand that we need this energy, pumping millions of gallons through poorly inspected pipelines is careless and irresponsible. We can no longer bury our heads in the sand. We need a comprehensive study and regular inspections that ensure we are doing everything we can to transport this energy in a way that does not threaten our Great Lakes, and if Enbridge Line 5 is found to be inconsistent with this mission - shut it down."
"If ruptured, the Line 5 Pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac poses a serious threat to the entire Great Lakes region, our environment and our economy," said Rep. Dingell. "A University of Michigan study found last year that more than 700 miles of shoreline in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are potentially vulnerable to an oil spill in the Straits, jeopardizing the Great Lakes ecosystem and hundreds of thousands of jobs. This legislation would allow the Department of Transportation to thoroughly study the condition and integrity of the underwater pipes and facilities in the Straits of Mackinac. If PHMSA finds the conditions of the pipes to be a significant risk to the environment and public health, the operations of Line 5 will be shut down."
Last year, the University of Michigan Water Center released a study
which estimated that over 700 miles of Great Lakes shoreline could be impacted in a rupture of Enbridge Line 5.
A PDF of the full bill text is available here.
The Preserve Our Lakes and Keep our Environment Safe (LAKES) Act:
- Commissions a comprehensive 12-month study to determine the economic and environmental risks pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac pose to the Great Lakes
- Commissions a supplementary evaluation of the internal and external condition and structural integrity of such pipelines
- Requires that the Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) terminate operations of such pipeline should the study determine its operation poses significant risk to life, property, or the environment