On Thursday September 24th, the US Coast Guard participated in a readiness test to see how well they, and other agencies, could react to an oil spill in the Great Lakes. Also participating were several federal, state, and local response teams and Enbridge, a Canadian oil transportation company.
There was a reason Enbridge was involved in the test. The company has a pipeline located at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. This is known as Line 5 and it is really two pipelines, both of which are over 60 years old. If this line develops a leak, it could cause huge problems. In 2010, the company’s Line 6B did rupture, spilling more than 800,000 gallons of oil.
In fact, the company has had many spills. According to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, between 2010 and 2014 Enbridge had 82 pipeline spills within 10 states. A total of 1,670,424 gallons of petroleum have been spilled by the company and its spills make up 10.3 percent of the total U.S. gallons spilled. Spills by this company make up 51% ($937 million) of the U.S. property damage total ($1.8B). Preparing for a possible future spill seems like a good idea even though the company says a spill from Line 5 is not likely.
The readiness exercise focused on tasks that would need to be performed should a spill take place on this line. The Coast Guard cutter Alder was deployed with its oil removal system which assisted 24 other vessels. Barges and tug boats pulled spill containment devices known as booms. In addition, shoreline booms were also deployed near St. Ignace. The goal was to funnel “imaginary” oil to smaller bays where it could be collected by special skimmers and placed into onshore vacuum trucks. Drones and helicopters monitored and patrolled overhead.
The exercise concentrated on the tasks needed for the first 24 hours after a spill. Containment tasks beyond this time period would require much more in assets to be effective.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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