Recent events have caused the argument over pipeline management and guidelines to erupt. Since the largest leak in the history of the Midwest took place in Calhoun County along 2 miles of the Talmadge Creek and 38 miles of the Kalamazoo River, many have called into question the restrictions and oversight put on pipelines. Due to poor oversight, different oil than was originally thought to be in the pipes was found to exist, tar sands crude oil. This oil is full of heavier metals; requiring more energy and water to clean up and it is harder to detect whether a leak is real or false. Some believe that much cannot be done to fix these problems, while others are proposing and bringing forth new legislation and guidelines. .
Renee Canady, deputy health officer of the Ingham County Health Department, considers the pipeline companies and county officials to be "mutually beneficial", but this relationship status is the main reason for a lack of forced or legal action to get any information regarding the pipelines.
On the contrary, Sgt. Robert Ott, Emergency Management Program Manager of the Ingham County Sheriff Department's Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division, says that companies with neutral relationships like Wolverine and Consumers Energy have given him proper information about their pipelines. He believes that this is because of the usefulness of having a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). The lack of such a sheet in the Enbridge spill caused for a different form of oil to be found in the line and the wrong form of evacuation plans to be given. Because of his insistence on such standards, Ingham County held a hearing for a new proposal that would require businesses to register their hazardous chemicals within 10 days of the proposals effective date or whenever the company began to stock such materials. After said date, the companies would have to update their registry on the first of each year. In addition, the public would be able to have access to all of this information and material lists.
Also, many more groups and officials are pushing for heavier regulations on these companies. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMS) has proposed for more inspections, better emergency shutoff valves, and stronger standards to stop erosion of pipelines. The public has until January 17, 2011 to provide their input on the matter.
Along with this proposition, is one written by Governor Dave Heineman of Nebraska. He wrote to the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, expressing his opposition to a pipeline proposed to run 300 miles and carry oil from Alberta, Canada to Texas. This proposed pipeline would run over the Ogalla Aquifier, which provides water for innumerable farmers and ranchers in Nebraska. To put in perspective just how important this aquifier is to the people of Nebraska is the statistic that $17 billion of the states economy comes from farmers and ranchers; they also account for 5% of the United States total economy.
In summation, the facts speak for themselves. Because of poor regulations and oversight of pipelines communities and ecosystems are being destroyed and having to spend months, and even years, to put the pieces back together. The above proposals all seem realistic and worthwhile. Implementing them, however, may be another story in itself.