Members of Congress Take First Step to Protect Wildlife from Oil Spills

Bald Eagle by Carl Chapman
Bald eagles spend their days fishing the shorelines of lakes and rivers. The Exxon Valdez oil spill killed hundreds of eagles and a large oil spill in the Great Lakes would pose similar risks.
Over 4,000 citizens nationwide have united to pressure our Great Lakes Senators to protect our waters from oil spills! After having a flood of concerned constituents reach out to their offices, Sens. Carl Levin, Debbie Stabenow and Dick Durbin came together to issue a joint letter to the federal agency that oversees pipeline safety, demanding more transparency. The senators share concerns with Great Lakes residents questioning the expansion of a 60-year-old pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac.

Here’s an excerpt of the senators’ letter:

This pipeline is 60 years old and runs from Superior, Wisconsin to Sarnia, Ontario. It passes inland along environmentally sensitive areas and beneath the Straits of Mackinac, which PHMSA has identified as a “high consequence area.” The increase in oil transported adds pressure to the aging pipeline, which has undergone only a few upgrades since it was first installed in 1953. We are concerned that these changes could compromise the integrity of the pipeline. We are particularly concerned with the risks a leak or break in the pipe could pose to the Straits of Mackinac given this area’s strong currents, variable water temperatures, and connections to both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

I not only applaud the senators for demanding more transparency from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and Enbridge, but I also want to thank all of our members and supporters, at the National Wildlife Federation, for taking the time to reach out and express your personal concerns. In particular, this positive step would not have been possible without the support and leadership of the Chicago Wolfpack and the Michigan Wolfpack – a group of business and community leaders who work with the National Wildlife Federation and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

If you want to learn more about this pipeline, you can watch our underwater pipeline footage taken this past summer.

Donate Now ButtonYou can make a difference by donating to the Great Lakes Regional Center of the National Wildlife Federation!