SAFE PIPES legislation aims to protect Great Lakes

WASHINGTON — Improving pipeline safety and oversight for all of the Great Lakes has been a big priority for U.S. Senator Gary Peters.

And in a matter of days, the SAFE PIPES Act will become law once President Obama signs the legislation.

The Act designates the Great Lakes as an “Unusually Sensitive Area,” requiring pipelines there to be subject to higher standards of operation.

It also adds requirements for oil spill response plans to address areas of ice cover, and calls for reviews of pipeline age and integrity.

“It’s gonna categorize all the pipelines in the Great Lakes basin as a high consequence pipeline, which means they will be subjected to the most robust, most comprehensive federal oversight,” said Peters. ”

They also have to consider ice cover, certainly something we know very well in Michigan, we know very well in the U.P. When you have thick ice across water that complicates what is already a very difficult operation very more and that has to be considered.”

There’s no word yet on when President Obama will sign the legislation.