Coastal Resource Manager Against Shipping Crude Across Great Lakes photo

A Coastal Resources Manager with the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation says a lot of work has to be done before any consideration should be given to a proposal to ship Alberta crude through the Great Lakes by tanker.

Geoff Peach points out that crude is already flowing through pipelines under the St. Clair River at Sarnia and the Straits of Mackinac so the potential for a rupture is there.

But now there is some discussion about shipping crude in oil tankers and Peach says that adds a whole new dimension to the issue. He explains that previous spills, as disastrous as they’ve been, involved lighter oil that floated on the surface so the clean-up involved using floats to collect the oil.

The Alberta crude would sink to the bottom in the event of a spill and Peach says the technology doesn’t exist at this time either in Canada or the U-S to deal with that kind of a spill.

Peach adds the Americans have just completed a series of mock spills to test their ability to deal with them and have concluded they do not yet have the technology to deal with a heavy crude spill that would result in the oil sinking to the lake bottom.