Wyant, Schuette Launch Task Force to Review Pipeline Safety

Contact: Joy Yearout 517-373-8060

June 26, 2014

LANSING - Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director Dan Wyant and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced they will co-chair a multi-agency government task force to take a close look at pipelines transporting petroleum products around the state.

Formal oversight for interstate gas and oil pipelines comes from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. But the vast network of lines transporting petroleum products over and under Michigan has the potential to impact Michigan's environment and communities.

"We have an obligation to do all we can to protect public health and the environment in Michigan," said DEQ Director Dan Wyant. "People around the state have expressed concern about pipelines, and we want to make appropriate information available to the public about the energy infrastructure network beneath our feet. This task force is assembled to respond to those concerns and shed some overdue light on key issues."

"We have a responsibility to practice good stewardship of our lands and waterways, and that includes working aggressively to minimize risk at every turn," said Schuette.  "We're launching this pro-active effort to safeguard our natural resources by trying to avoid tragedy before it strikes. The task force will serve as an advocate and voice for protecting the health, safety and welfare of Michigan citizens."

The Great Lakes Petroleum Pipeline Task Force includes the Michigan Attorney General's office as well as DEQ, the Michigan Public Service Commission, Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division.

Wyant and Schuette in May issued a formal inquiry to Enbridge regarding the status, condition and future of the company's pipeline under the Mackinac Straits. A response is anticipated soon, and will be reviewed by the new task force.  

Other topics the group will address include:

  • The state's emergency management preparedness for spills,
  • Coordination of permitting issues for pipeline upgrades and replacement, and
  • The creation of a state website to serve as an information clearinghouse for residents who have questions or concerns about pipelines.