NWF Urges Indiana Public Officials to Keep Watch over Dirty Oil Pipelines

‘BP Oil Disaster and Enbridge Gusher a Wake-up Call’

10-27-2010 // Beth Wallace

In the aftermath of the Enbridge pipeline gusher—which spewed more than 800,000 gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River—the National Wildlife Federation is continuing its efforts to hold polluters accountable and make sure that protections and safeguards are in place to prevent another disaster from harming people, wildlife and communities.

At an October 19 hearing sponsored by the Indiana Environmental Quality Service Council, staff members from the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center provided recommendations to Indiana state senators and representatives on how Great Lakes states such as Indiana can better protect their citizens and communities from the dangers of oil pipelines.

“The BP oil disaster and the Enbridge pipeline gusher have served as a wake-up call to Americans—including local public officials—that the oil and gas industries are dangerous businesses that need to be kept in check,” said Beth Wallace, Great Lakes oil spill response coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation. “Local and state officials need to be on top of this issue, because when a spill does occur, the bulk of the response comes from state and county agencies.” 

Public Officials on Front Lines to Defend Wildlife
Local, county and state officials need to be vigilant in overseeing pipeline operations in their states, urged Danielle Korpalski, regional outreach coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation. NWF urged state lawmakers to:
• understand state laws and rights in overseeing pipelines running through the state;
• improve regulations overseeing pipelines;
• vigilantly oversee oil and gas operators in the state; and,
• develop emergency response plans if an accident occurs.

“By requiring oil companies, like Enbridge, to fully engage with state requirements and response plans,” said Wallace, “you are not only protecting one of the world’s greatest natural resources, our Great Lakes, but you are also protecting our public health, economy, wildlife and quality of life.”

A recent National Wildlife Federation report, “Assault on America: A Decade of Petroleum Company Disaster, Pollution, and Profit,” documents how the oil and gas industry is responsible for almost one accident per day across the country, leading to personal injuries or death, environmental harm, and economic damage. 

The Enbridge oil spill in Michigan is not an isolated incident,” said Korpalski. “It speaks to the inherent risk of feeding our appetite for energy with dirty fossil fuels. The nation needs to transition to a clean energy economy that protects our environment, creates jobs, safeguards wildlife and enhances our national security. We have solutions. It is time to use them.”

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