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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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