Oil Spill in Michigan Raises Questions About Regulation

The U.S. Department of Transportation issued repeat warnings to Enbridge Energy Partners, owner of a pipe that leaked an estimated 1 million gallons of oil into southwest Michigan's Kalamazoo River, to address the safety of its system.

The Kalamazoo River oil spill comes as Congress was already holding hearings on a pipeline safety bill.

Standards for protection and maintenance of pipelines vary across the United States; more than half of the 165,000 mile of pipeline fall outside of "high consequence" areas, and require less vigilance. The pipeline that burst near the Kalamazoo River was one of these requiring lower standards. The location of high consequence areas is kept secret by industry and government.

Regulation of oil pipelines is overseen by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA, which some say receives too much oversight and input from industry.

"The regulatory agency has given the industry too much authority in overseeing itself," U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer, D-Battle Creek told the Detroit Free Press. A portion of the Kalamazoo River affected by the oil spill flows through Battle Creek. Schauer sits on the House committee with authority over PHMSA.

Thanks to Nina Misuraca Ignaczak

Full Story: Michigan oil spill has some asking: Are regulations too lax?


Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month