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Great Lakes 'At Risk' From Plan to Replace Aging Enbridge Pipelines, Environmentalists Argue
The state of Michigan and Canadian pipeline company Enbridge announced a deal Wednesday to replace controversial aging pipelines that environmental groups worried put Lakes Michigan and Huron at risk for an oil spill, The Detroit Free Press reported.
Under the new plan, the existing 65-year-old pipelines, which are part of Enbridge's Line 5 carrying oil and liquefied natural gas between Wisconsin and Ontario, will be replaced with a new pipeline in a tunnel to be drilled into the bedrock beneath the Straits of Mackinac connecting Lakes Huron and Michigan, The Associated Press reported. The project will take seven to 10 years to complete and cost as much as $500 million. Enbridge will foot the bill.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder called the proposal "a common-sense solution" to the problem posed by the aging pipelines, saying that it would resolve "nearly every risk" of an oil spill in the Straits of Mackinac.
But environmental groups, who have long opposed the pipeline, disagreed that the new plan was any sort of solution.
"Today, Governor Snyder cemented his disastrous legacy for the Great Lakes and the people of Michigan," Michigan organizer for Clean Water Action Sean McBearty told The Detroit Free Press. "As his administration comes to a close, he announced a last-minute deal with Enbridge Energy that will succeed in keeping the Great Lakes at risk from a massive Line 5 oil spill for the foreseeable future."
Mike Shriberg of the National Wildlife Federation also told The Associated Press that the plan would leave the body of water vulnerable to spills for many years, and David Holtz of Oil and Water Don't Mix said that Michigan's own studies showed there were better ways to provide the state with energy.
Enbridge said it would take measures to reduce the risk of an oil spill from the older pipelines during construction, including (a) conducting underwater investigations, (b) placing cameras in the straits to keep track of ship movements and enforce a no-anchor zone, and (c) making Enbridge staff available to manually shut down the pipeline during high-wave days if electric mechanisms fail.
The Line 5 pipelines have been the subject of lawsuits and protests in recent months. The National Wildlife Federation and the Environmental Law & Policy Center sued the Coast Guard in August over an inadequate oil-spill response plan, in an ultimate bid to shut down the pipeline, since one is not allowed to operate a pipeline without a satisfactory response plan in place. Also in August, indigenous activists set up a protest camp in Northern Michigan to protest the pipelines.
A study in July found that an oil spill from the pipelines could damage 400 miles of Great Lakes shoreline and cost Michigan $2 billion.
- New report highlights risks of Enbridge Line 5 pipeline | Michigan ... ›
- The Problem with Enbridge Line 5 pipelines through the Great Lakes ›
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."