Port Huron Times-Herald: Bill establishes Coast Guard oil spill center
A provision authored by U.S. Sen. Gary Peters to establish a Coast Guard oil spill center for the Great Lakes was signed into law by President Donald Trump, according to a news release from Peters' office.
The provision established a U.S. Coast Guard National Center of Expertise for the Great Lakes.
The center, according to the news release, would examine the effects of oil spills in freshwater and help develop responses.
A site for the center has not been established. The St. Clair River, however, is one area with a large potential for oil spills with numerous oil and gas pipelines crossing between the U.S. and Canada.
Marysville alone has about 24 transmission pipelines, carrying natural gas, petroleum, propane and chemicals for industrial use, beneath the city, according to officials.
According to the news release, Peters authored the legislation after discovering most oil spill responses were developed for saltwater and the Coast Guard was not prepared for an oil spill in the Great Lakes.
“An oil spill in the Great Lakes would be detrimental to our economy, our environment and our drinking water, and I was alarmed to hear that current technology is insufficient to clean up an oil spill in one of our most precious natural resources,” said Peters, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, in the news release. “The new Coast Guard Great Lakes Center of Expertise will build upon the good work already happening in Michigan to further advance research, development and testing of freshwater oil spill response equipment and protect the Great Lakes for generations to come.”
The committee has jurisdiction over the Coast Guard.
The legislation directs the center be located near crude oil pipeline infrastructure in the Great Lakes and near a university or college with aquatic research facilities and expertise on Great Lakes water resources, according to the news release.
According to the release, the center will:
- Identify gaps in Great Lakes oil spill research, including an assessment of major scientific or technological deficiencies in responses to past spills in the Great Lakes and other freshwater bodies, and seek to fill those gaps.
- Monitor and assess the current state of knowledge regarding freshwater oil spill response technologies and the behavior and effects of oil spills in the Great Lakes.
- Conduct research, development, testing, and evaluation for freshwater oil spill response equipment, technologies, and techniques to mitigate and respond to oil spills in the Great Lakes.
- Help train first responders on the federal, state and local level on the incident command structure system and response technologies and strategies.
- Work with academic and the private sector to develop and standardize maritime oil spill response training.
By: Bob Gross
Source: Port Huron Times-Herald
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