Loreen Niewenhuis is an author, adventurer, and Great Lakes speaker. She has completed a trilogy of 1,000-mile adventures exploring the Great Lakes and has written three books about the Great Lakes [A 1,000-Mile Walk on the Beach *a Heartland Indie Bestseller*, A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Walk *winner of the Great Lakes Great Reads Award*, and A 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure]. To learn more about her work, or to book her as a speaker, go to http://LakeTrek.com
There are underground and underwater pipelines carrying oil throughout the Great Lakes Basin.
Map of pipelines
Five years ago, this reality became shockingly apparent in southwest Michigan when one of Enbridge Energy Company's pipelines ruptured near Marshall, Michigan spilling nearly a million gallons of heavy crude oil into a creek that fed into the Kalamazoo River.
The Kalamazoo River flows through Battle Creek where I currently live. It has taken years and hundreds of millions of dollars to clean it up.
Enbridge owns and maintains many of the pipelines in the basin, including the one submerged in the water at the Straits of Mackinac (the 5-mile wide waterway separating Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas). This pipeline is 61 years old.
"I can't even imagine if we had some kind of spill that sent oil into the Great Lakes," said US Senator Stabenow. "We remember what happened in the Kalamazoo (River)."
"After experiencing one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history, Michiganders know all too well that a pipeline break can have devastating consequences for our environment and our economy,” said US Senator Peters. "One can imagine what a disaster it would be for a similar oil spill to occur in the Great Lakes."
A study done at the University of Michigan found that a rupture in this pipeline would devastate the Great Lakes. Read about that study HERE.
Michigan's U.S. Senators Stabenow and Peters have teamed up to propose legislation to protect our Great Lakes from oil spills. Even if you're not a Michigander (or even living in the Great Lakes Basin), this is sound legislation to protect these inland seas containing 84% of the fresh, surface water in North America.
Read more about the legislation HERE.
And contact your representatives in Congress if you support its passage.