A new federal rule, according to officials, mandates stricter safety standards for Pipelines delivering oil and other dangerous substances across the Great Lakes region, as well as marine coastal waters and beaches.The US and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has designated such areas as “high consequence” zones, requiring operators to increase inspections, repairs, and other preventative efforts to avert leaks.
The EPA estimates that the new regulation will cover 2,905 extra miles (4,675 kilometers) of hazardous liquid Pipelines, particularly in states around the Gulf of Mexico.The Great Lakes and our coastal waterways are natural treasures that demand our utmost protection,” said the agency’s deputy administrator, Tristan Brown. “This regulation increases and expands efforts to ensure safety.”Last year, Congress directed the Pipelines safety agency to add the Great Lakes, coastal beaches, and coastal seas to the list of “unusually sensitive sites” that require particular monitoring.
Sen. Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat who supported the proposal, said, “We know a Pipelines catastrophe in the Great Lakes would be devastating.”The 53-page paper admits that there’s no way of knowing how many tragedies the new rules would save. However, it cites multiple past instances of hazardous spills in defined locations.
It also mentions a 2018 anchor hit in Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, which damaged Enbridge Energy’s Line 5 but did not produce an oil leak.Operators must include any Pipelines that may have an impact on the designated habitats in their safety management systems under the new rule.