TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – Michigan’s U.S. senators are calling for a ban on shipments of crude oil by vessels on the Great Lakes.

Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow introduced legislation Wednesday that would prohibit such shipments. They don’t happen now, but Peters says the idea of using barges or tankers to move oil on the lakes has been raised.

“We all know how critical this is for Michigan and how devastating it would be,” said Stabenow, “I can’t even imagine if we had a leak that caused some kind of a spill into the Great Lakes – we know what happened in Kalamazoo – it was the largest clean-up in the country — $1.2 billion.”

Oil clings to plants along the Kalamazoo River after an oil spill of approximately 840,000 gallons of crude oil July 28, 2010 in Marshall. (Credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Oil clings to plants along the Kalamazoo River after an oil spill of approximately 840,000 gallons of crude oil July 28, 2010 in Marshall. (Credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

The bill also would require federal studies of risks posed by pipelines that run through the Great Lakes and other waterways in the region. The studies would consider alternatives to an oil pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac owned by Enbridge Energy Partners, which is conducting a spill response exercise with government agencies Thursday.

Stabenow says the legislation would create higher standards for potential new pipelines in the Great Lakes and also ban the shipment of crude oil on waterways around the state.

“We all know how critical this is for Michigan.”

Additional provisions in the measure would require improving spill response plans and giving the public more information about pipeline risks.

 

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