03.01.16

Peters, Stabenow Urge State Department to Reopen Public Comment Period on 98-Year-Old Pipeline Permit

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to reopen the public comment period to allow Michiganders to voice their opinions about a new permit for the 98-year-old twin pipelines that could potentially carry crude oil under the St. Clair River.

“After experiencing one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history, Michiganders are all too familiar with the devastating consequences that a pipeline break can have on our environment and economy,” the Senators wrote in the letter. “The limited number of public comments received on this regulatory matter is not indicative of a lack of interest by our constituents. Rather, it reflects a lack of time for members of our communities to sufficiently review the proposal and submit comments.”

The pipelines, owned by Plains LPG Services in Houston, Texas, were originally constructed in 1918, and are not currently used to transport crude oil. The St. Clair River is considered a high consequence area, and an oil spill from a pipeline leak could reach critical drinking water intakes within four hours, and spread to Lake St. Clair in less than 24 hours. The Great Lakes provide drinking water for 40 million people in North America and support multibillion dollar fishing, agricultural and tourism industries in Michigan.

The full text of the letter is below, or available here:

March 1, 2016

 

The Honorable John Kerry

Secretary of State

United States Department of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry,

 

We write to encourage the State Department to reopen the public comment period for the consideration of a permit for a 98-year-old pipeline that would potentially carry crude oil under the St. Clair River.  Given the importance of this decision to local communities and stakeholders in Michigan, we need to ensure all voices have the opportunity to be heard before the Department renders a final decision.

 

We are deeply concerned about the transportation of crude oil in the Great Lakes. After experiencing one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history, Michiganders are all too familiar with the devastating consequences that a pipeline break can have on our environment and economy. The limited number of public comments received on this regulatory matter is not indicative of a lack of interest by our constituents.  Rather, it reflects a lack of time for members of our communities to sufficiently review the proposal and submit comments.

 

It is crucial that information about the pipeline is made publicly available and that additional input opportunities are provided so that local community members and stakeholders can fully evaluate and offer feedback on the potential risks the pipeline poses to our environment and the public health. 

 

Thank you for your consideration of our request.  We hope you will see fit to extend the comment period for this critically important permitting decision.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Gary C. Peters                                                             Debbie Stabenow

United States Senator                                                 United States Senator

 

 

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