NWF Heralds New Michigan Report as Major Step Forward to Protect Communities, Wildlife, Great Lakes from Risky Oil Pipelines

"Report sets stage to stop flow of oil through Straits of Mackinac."

The National Wildlife Federation is heralding a new report by the State of Michigan as a major step forward in the effort to protect the Great Lakes, fish, wildlife, and communities from another major oil spill like the one near Kalamazoo, Mich., in 2010 that dumped more than 800,000 gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River—the largest inland oil disaster in U.S. history.

The report, released today by Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force co-chairs Attorney General Bill Schuette and Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant, calls for increased scrutiny and analysis of a 62-year-old pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac as well as an independent assessment of alternatives to the pipeline.

"This report sets the stage to stop the flow of oil through the Straits of Mackinac, thereby protecting our communities, fish, wildlife, and Great Lakes," said Mike Shriberg, regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center. "It’s now up to Michigan’s public officials to act with urgency to implement these recommendations. Delay only further jeopardizes our environment and economy. It’s time to stop playing Russian roulette with the Great Lakes."

The report calls for:

Legally binding commitment to not transport heavy crude through the Straits of Mackinac pipeline;
Independent risk analysis of the pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac;
An independent analysis of pipeline alternatives; and,
Improved information sharing with the public.
"The report creates a framework for a broader conversation about options for transporting fossil fuels in environmentally, socially, and economically responsible ways throughout Michigan and the Great Lakes region," said Shriberg. "It’s now up Gov. Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette, and the Michigan Legislature to prioritize addressing this threat to the Great Lakes and our way of life. This study sets the stage for the only acceptable outcome: That this pipeline be removed from the Straits of Mackinac."

The report singled out the National Wildlife Federation for bringing this critical issue to public attention in the wake of the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil disaster through NWF’s "Sunken Hazard" report (read it at http://bit.ly/1O3F8yW) and subsequent ground-breaking research that documented the condition of the pipeline and the potential impacts of a spill.

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