Jones introduces bill to shut down oil pipeline in the Great Lakes

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Sen. Rick Jones

Sen. Rick Jones

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Rick Jones plans to introduce legislation this week that aims to shut down oil pipelines in the Great Lakes.

Jones’ legislation would aim to target Line 5, a 62-year-old pipeline owned by Enbridge, and stop the flow of crude oil from Alberta, Canada under the Straits of Mackinac to the Canadian Sarnia refinery in Ontario.

“This is about securing the safety of our Pure Michigan waters,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. “There are 40 million people drinking water from the Great Lakes and they can’t drink Canadian oil. Canada is simply using Michigan as a shortcut to get to Sarnia.”

Enbridge’s Line 6B was the pipeline that caused the Kalamazoo River oil spill in 2010. This was one of the worst and most expensive oil spills in U.S. history. Line 6B was an aged pipeline that was built the 1960s, much like Line 5.

“I do not believe that it is a question of if the line fails, but when,” Jones said. “There are two pipelines under the straits, so that puts us at twice the risk for a disastrous oil leak — which would devastate the state’s tourism industry and wreak havoc on the health of the world’s largest collection of fresh water.”

The upcoming legislation would amend the Great Lakes Submerged Lands Act to stop future pipelines from running through the Great Lakes. It would also require operators of current oil pipelines to undergo a full risk analysis by a qualified independent third party and turn it into the state. If the preliminary analysis concludes that risks are high, the pipeline would be shut down immediately.

“I fully believe that Line 5 will be determined to be too high of a risk after the analysis, and the pipeline will be forced to be decommissioned under the straits,” Jones said. “Under the Michigan Constitution it is my duty as senator to protect our greatest natural resource, the Great Lakes, and I intend to do so.”