WSW: How Can the Risk of a Pipeline Leak be Minimized?
The chairman of the Michigan Chapter of the Sierra Club says a new report on pipeline safety in Michigan “gets it about half right.”
David Holtz says the report prepared by Attorney General Bill Schuette and Environmental Quality Department Director Dan Wyant does a good job of spelling out the problem presented by aging pipelines such as one owned by Enbridge Energy which runs through the Straits of Mackinac.
But the report does not call for the pipeline to be shutdown. Holtz says any decision about the pipeline has been put off to the future. Schuette did say that the pipeline’s “days are numbered.”
Pipeline safety became a major issue in Michigan when a pipeline owned by Enbridge Energy ruptured near Marshall and spilled more than 800,000 gallons of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River. Holtz says “all pipelines leak.” But he says the industry is mostly left to regulate itself and the federal agency that is supposed oversee pipeline safety is not considered very effective.
Asked what to do about the risk of pipeline safety, Holtz says the Sierra Club prefers to keep fossil fuels in the ground. But he says the pipelines that do exist be subject to a strict standard so they are operated safely.