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Environment & Climate Change

Legislation would require tougher standards for Great Lakes pipelines

Mackinac Bridge
Mark Brush
/
Michigan Radio

Congress has ordered stronger safety measures for pipelines carrying oil and other fuels in the Great Lakes region.

The requirement is contained in a bill that cleared the Senate on Monday and the House last week. It now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The measure re-authorizes a federal program that regulates 2.6 million miles of pipelines nationwide.

Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan says it designates the Great Lakes as an "unusually sensitive area," where pipelines must meet tougher standards for safe operations.

It also requires regulators and pipeline operators to develop plans for dealing with oil spills affecting ice-covered waterways.

Lawmakers have raised concerns about an oil pipeline running beneath the Straits of Mackinac, the link between Lakes Huron and Michigan that often freezes over during winter.

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