Oil Pipelines in the Great Lakes, Threats and Solutions-Gosman, 2012


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Did you know there is a massive 60-year-old oil pipeline running under Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, along the Straits of Mackinac? Did you know that up to 20 million gallons of oil travels through that pipeline a day and the operators have plans to expand the capacity without making significant updates? You might also be surprised to learn that most of the oil traveling through our pipelines comes from the Alberta tar sands. This panel will explain the issues and the regulatory framework governing oil pipelines as well as provide recommendations on ways we can safeguard our lakes from spills.

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Oil Pipelines in the Great Lakes, Threats and Solutions-Gosman, 2012

  1. 1. After the Marshall Spill:Regulation of OilPipelinesSara GosmanLecturer, University of Michigan Law SchoolHealing Our Waters ConferenceSeptember 13, 2012
  2. 2. Hazardous Liquid Pipelines in GreatLakes Region 28,834 miles of hazardous liquid pipelines 278 incidents in last 5 years 3.87 million gallons of liquids spilled in last 5 years Source: American Association of Oil Pipelines (map), PHMSA Hazardous Liquid Flagged Incidents File - June 29, 2012 (data)
  3. 3. Great Lakes Region Incidents Total Property Total Hazardous Total Gallons Spilled Damage from Total Miles of Liquid Pipeline from Hazardous Hazardous Liquid Hazardous Liquid Incidents Liquid Pipelines Pipelines State Pipelines 2007-2011 2007-2011 2007-2011 Illinois 7,423 86 974,946 $79,763,406 Indiana 3,718 32 134,148 $17,745,556 Michigan 2,784 27 1,334,718 $743,315,319 Minnesota 5,006 39 502,152 $10,699,821 New York 1,042 10 313,068 $15,401,391 Ohio 3,416 37 145,572 $14,845,314Pennsylvania 2,763 24 188,622 $9,368,291 Wisconsin 2,682 23 279,594 $7,141,005Great LakesState Totals 28,834 278 3,872,820 $898,280,103 Entire U.S. ~175,000 1,743 23,770,614 $1,410,880,684* Data Source: PHMSA Hazardous Liquid Flagged Incidents File - June 29, 2012 *Significant incidents only
  4. 4. Significant Onshore PipelineIncidents: Great Lakes Region Hazardous Liquid Gas Distribution Gas Transmission6050403020100 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Data Source: PHMSA Flagged Incidents Files - June 29, 2012
  5. 5. Significant Onshore PipelineIncidents: Nationwide Hazardous Liquid Gas Distribution Gas Transmission200180160140120100 80 60 40 20 0 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Data Source: PHMSA Flagged Incidents Files - June 29, 2012
  6. 6. Average Significant Incidents PerMile of Onshore Pipeline 2002-2011 0.001200 0.001000 0.000800 0.000600 0.000400 0.000200 0.000000 Hazardous Gas Gas Liquid Distribution Transmission U.S. 0.000666 0.000029 0.000184 Great Lakes States 0.000762 0.000071 0.000205 Illinois 0.000943 0.000066 0.000212 Michigan 0.000718 0.000054 0.000219 New York 0.000960 0.000063 0.000229 Data Sources: PHMSA Flagged Incidents Files - June 29, 2012, Annual Reports
  7. 7. Cause of Significant Incidents:Great Lakes Region Significant Incident Cause Breakdown Great Lakes Region, Hazardous Liquid Onshore, 2002-2011 CORROSION 4% 8% 17% EXCAVATION DAMAGE 9% INCORRECT OPERATION 10% MATL/WELD/EQUIP FAILURE NATURAL FORCE DAMAGE 10% OTHER OUTSIDE FORCE 42% DAMAGE ALL OTHER CAUSES Data Source: PHMSA Significant Incidents Files June 29, 2012
  8. 8. Summary of DataOver the last ten years, significant incidents fromhazardous liquid pipelines in the Great Lakes Region:• Have averaged about 21 incidents annually, and stayed roughly the same;• Have been very small per mile of pipe, but were substantially higher than significant incidents per mile for other types of pipelines; and• Were caused most often by failures in pipeline materials and equipment.
  9. 9. Legal Framework Routing and Siting of New Pipelines Operation and Maintenance of Existing Pipelines Emergency Response Planning and Spill Reporting
  10. 10. Federal and State Authority Federal Authority State Authority Routing & Siting of New PHMSA prohibited from May choose to regulate Pipelines regulating May conduct oversight Interstate Exclusive authority to setOperation & and inspections if Pipelines standardsMaintenance certified by PHMSA of Existing Pipelines Intrastate May regulate if certified Minimum standards Pipelines by PHMSA Emergency Exclusive authority to set Likely preemptedEmergency plans standards Response Facility May choose to regulate ifPlanning & response Minimum standards standards are at least as Spill plans stringent Reporting Spill Nonexclusive authority May choose to require Reporting
  11. 11. Federal Regulatory Weaknesses• No consideration of the cumulative impact of pipeline spills on the Great Lakes Basin;• No review of the long-term risks of spills to environmentally sensitive areas when new pipelines are routed;• No consideration of all environmentally sensitive areas in managing existing pipeline risks, only those that are of “high consequence;” and• No specific requirements for facility response plans or adequate review by staff to ensure that plans protect environmentally sensitive areas.
  12. 12. The Status of Great Lakes State Regulation Facility Routing & Interstate Intrastate Spill Response Siting Oversight Regulation Reporting PlansIllinois Indiana  Michigan Minnesota    New York   Ohio Pennsylvania Wisconsin 
  13. 13. Recommendations• The Great Lakes Commission should facilitate discussions among the states and provinces to improve pipeline regulation across the Great Lakes Basin.• States should seek certification to regulate intrastate pipelines and to oversee interstate pipelines. PHMSA provides up to 80% of program funding and the rest may be covered by operator fees.• States should set stringent standards for pipeline operators to submit response plans to the state and give the public the opportunity to comment on the plans.• All states should require pipeline operators to report spills to the state at a low threshold.
  14. 14. Resources• Office of Pipeline Safety, PHMSA • Website: http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/pipeline• The Pipeline Safety Trust • Website: http://www.pstrust.org • Carl Weimer, Executive Director, carl@pstrust.org• The National Wildlife Federation • Website: http://www.nwf.org/greatlakes • Beth Wallace, Community Outreach Regional Coordinator, wallaceb@nwf.org