Two Democratic Party members of the US Senate have introduced a bill that would ban the shipping of crude oil on the Great Lakes.
The bill, concerned with environmental protection, would also require an in-depth review of the hazardous materials transported by pipeline in the Great Lakes basin, with a view to increasing regulatory standards for the region.
US Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow brought in the bill. In the case of crude, it is really preventative legislation as there is currently no crude being shipped on the Great Lakes – which comprise Lakes Michigan, Erie, Superior, Ontario and Huron. However there are plans in the works to do so, using barges and tankers.
The Great Lakes, which mostly straddle the US-Canada border, comprise the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world and environmentalists are concerned that the impact of a crude spill in those waters, with their shifting currents, would be devastating.
Next step for the newly introduced bill is for it to be considered by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.