Report: Pipeline Laws Still Need Work Following K-Zoo Spill

KALAMAZOO (WWJ) – Nearly two years ago, more than 800,000 gallons of oil spilled into a creek that feeds the Kalamazoo River near Marshall. Sections of the river are still closed and now a new report says pipeline safety laws are still woefully inadequate.

Carl Weimer from “Pipeline Safety Trust” says federal pipeline oversight doesn’t begin to address the need.

“They have about a hundred inspectors for, you know, two-and-a-half million miles of pipelines around the country, which is another reason why it’s so important for states to think about adding that second layer of inspectors on top, like some of the Great Lakes (states) have,” Weimer said. ”

According to Weimer, there is a major pipeline incident somewhere in the country every day and a half — with more than 1,700 incidents spilling more than 23 million gallons of hazardous liquid into the environment over the last 5 years.

Sara Gosman from the National Wildlife Federation says Michigan is one of two states that don’t require pipeline companies to report spills to the state.  She says Michigan leaders have dropped the ball.

“(States) can’t impose safety standards on interstate pipelines, but they have an incredibly important role in regulating routing. And the Great Lakes states could be doing a much better job on that,” Gosman said.

The research was conducted by the National Wildlife Federation along with law students at the University of Michigan.


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