Pavlov: Public hearing needed on pipeline under the St. Clair River

Sen. Phil Pavlov

Sen. Phil Pavlov

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Phil Pavlov introduced a resolution on Tuesday calling on the U.S. to reopen the public comment period regarding a proposed crude oil pipeline under the St. Clair River.

A rupture of the pipeline would have catastrophic consequences for the environment and economies of Michigan, surrounding states, and Canada.

“We’ve had disastrous line breaks in Michigan in the past, but a break in this line could potentially be much worse,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “Because of past catastrophes and the potential for even worse disasters in the future, experts have come out against these types of pipelines.

“We need to learn from our mistakes. At the very least, the comment period must be reopened so the public can weigh in on this proposal.”

The public comment period for the pipeline permit closed on Feb. 24, but notices for public comment are published in the Federal Register and are not highly publicized. Many people with concerns about the pipeline permits became aware of the application only after the public comment period closed.

The resolution calls on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to reopen the public comment period for Plains LPG’s presidential permit application for the pipelines under the St. Clair River. The resolution also asks the International Joint Commission to review the environmental impact of the pipelines running under the St. Clair River and Detroit River.

Pavlov has also sent a letter to Kerry, urging him to act immediately.

The 2015 Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force Report (MPPTF) recommended against the transportation of heavy crude oil through pipelines under the Great Lakes

The MPPTF Report was prepared in response to the Enbridge Line 6B rupture in 2010 and renewed attention to the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline running near the Straits of Mackinac, but the Plains LPG pipelines under the St. Clair River could potentially be even more dangerous, as two of the six lines are nearly 100 years old and the permit, if approved, would allow for the transportation of crude oil.

“The transportation of hazardous liquids is an important issue that requires input from the public,” Pavlov said. “The potential impact of a spill on the regional environment, public health, and economy would be significant, and decision makers should hear from the local communities before authorizing the transportation of potentially dangerous materials — especially when the company requesting the permit has recently been involved in a spill.”

Note: Audio comments by Pavlov are available by clicking Audio under the Media Center tab.