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Congress passes bill ratcheting up Mackinac pipeline safety rules

June 9, 2016

 
Congress has sent a bill to the president's desk that includes stronger safety measures for Great Lakes pipelines prompted by concerns about the threat of an oil spill from the Enbridge Line 5 gas and oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac.
 
The Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act unanimously cleared the U.S. Senate in March and the House of Representatives on June 9. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law this month.
 
The legislation, which reauthorizes the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) through 2019, includes provisions that designate the Great Lakes as an "Unusually Sensitive Area" with higher consequences should a spill occur. Pipelines in or near the lakes would be subject to greater safety standards.

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Deepwater spill pollution lingers on seabed


6/14/2016

Dirty oil residues from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico remained for years on the seabed, killing wildlife despite large-scale cleanup efforts, a study has revealed.

The study found that in January 2011, nine months after the spill, large patches of oil residue still covered the ocean floor around the spill site. The area had previously been declared clean after the surface of the surrounding waters had been found clean of oil.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on 20 April 2010 due to human error, causing around 5 million barrels of oil to spill out — with months going by until the leak was capped near the ocean floor.

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County weighing pros and cons of EPA Superfund cleanup of Gelman plume

June 02, 2016
 
ANN ARBOR, MI — Not all Washtenaw County commissioners are ready to say a federal Superfund cleanup is definitely the way to address the Gelman dioxane plume, but they're open to exploring the option.
 
Unanswered questions — along with conflicting information yet to be sorted out— held up approval of a resolution Wednesday night to have the county begin moving in the direction of petitioning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to place the Gelman plume on the National Priorities List.

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IMO publishes guide to spill response in ice

6/8/2016

At 183 pages, Guide to Oil Spill Response in Snow and Ice Conditions provides a unique insight into the issues and strategies surrounding the challenge of spill response in the Arctic. Commissioned by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Arctic Council working group for Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) from a team comprising Owens Coastal Consultants and DF Dickins Associates, it will be supplemented by a companion volume to be issued shortly by IMO that includes the Antarctic and other subarctic areas affected by ice. It can be downloaded here.

The objective of the Arctic version of the IMO guide is to identify and describe those aspects of planning and operations that are directly associated with a response to an Arctic oil spill in ice and snow conditions. Response strategies to deal with Arctic oil spills in summer open-water conditions are not considered in the guide.

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Elaborate plan develops to save grounded freighter


6/1/2016


From Duluth to Philadelphia and parts farther yet came a plan Tuesday to rescue the freighter Roger Blough from its grounding in the far eastern edge of Lake Superior.

A pair of other Great Lakes Fleet freighters — the Arthur M. Anderson and Philip R. Clarke — will converge on the site of the Blough in Whitefish Bay beginning Thursday, said Mitch Koslow, vice president of engineering for Keystone Shipping Co. in Philadelphia, the central office for the ship’s operator.

Simply, the plan will be to offload iron ore onto the other vessels from the Blough at its currently grounded state near the Gros Cap Reefs, about 10 miles west of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and the Soo Locks.

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