State Rep. Triston Cole’s plan to better protect the Great Lakes by strengthening pipeline safety standards in the Straits of Mackinac was approved today by the House Michigan Competitiveness Committee.
Cole, of Mancelona, said the comprehensive plan ensures vessels and utility companies operating in the Straits are accountable to the people of Michigan.
“I’m tired of being a back seat driver in regard to Line 5,” Cole said. “The state of Michigan needs to be in the driver’s seat in order to ensure the protection of the Great Lakes and our local economies.”
- The “Straits of Mackinac Safety, Protection and Accountability” action plan:
- Improves reporting from pipeline operators to the state of Michigan.
- Increases the safety and security of utility lines that provide communities in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula with access to phone, cable, natural gas, oil and electricity.
- Provides additional signs and buoys alerting boats not to use anchors in the Straits.
- Establishes clear penalties for vessels that break maritime laws and jeopardize the safety of Michigan’s waterways.
- Provides added accountability and increased penalties for those responsible for negligence or criminal damage to public utilities.
“These reforms will bring even more awareness to infrastructure located in the Straits and ensure that anyone who knowingly uses or drags an anchor there will be held accountable,” said Cole, who introduced the plan alongside Reps. Sue Allor of Wolverine and Lee Chatfield of Levering.
House Bills 6187, 6199, 6200 and 6201 now move to the full House for consideration.