Oil Transportation in the Great Lakes-
St. Lawrence River Region

Project Documents

Fact Sheet

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For More Information

Michèle Leduc-Lapierre
Great Lakes Commission
(734) 971-9135
michelel@glc.org

Understanding the issues surrounding the development of domestic crude oil and the benefits, risks, and impacts of transportation of crude oil in and through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River region has become a top priority for the region’s decisionmakers. Due to the tremendous increases in oil production over the past nine years and the commensurate increases in shipment of oil, the issue has also begun to generate interest among the regulatory, management, and research communities in both the public and private sectors. The crude oil transportation issue is also generating concern among the general public due to the number of crude oil spills and accidents that have occurred both regionally and nationally in the past years.
Current expected outcomes for the project are centered around increasing our understanding of issues related to oil transportation. Projected outcomes will likely evolve as the project itself evolves.

Project Narrative

The development of domestic crude oil in both the United States and Canada has become an important part of energy policy in the two countries. In the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River region, increased movement of crude oil by pipeline, rail, and vessels has direct and indirect economic benefits. But along with the benefits, there are also environmental, economic, societal, and public health and safety issues and concerns that need to be better understood. Regional decisionmakers need access to unbiased information in order to help them weigh the risks and benefits of oil development and transportation, and to inform management and policy decisions that protect the regional economy, the environment, and public health and safety. There are many unanswered questions regarding the risks and benefits of crude oil transportation from all modes. Important questions about the economic benefits of oil transportation, when weighed against public safety concerns and the need to protect the waters of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River region, abound.

In February 2015, the Commission published a report titled Issues and Trends Surrounding Crude Oil Transportation in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Region. This report was completed in response to a September 2013 action item request from its Commissioners for information regarding oil transportation in the region. The report (and four companion issue briefs) looked broadly at issues related to oil extraction and movement; the economic benefits and disadvantages of oil transportation; risks and impacts; and policies, programs, and legislation being developed to address the issue.  At the GLC’s February 2015 Semiannual Meeting, the Commissioners approved a resolution calling for the development of an advisory committee. This committee has been in place since April 2015..

Project Partners

Funding

Funding for our work on oil transportation is provided by multiple sources. Currently, the C.S. Mott Foundation is funding the research papers and the Joyce Foundation is funding the symposium on risk.

For More Information

Michèle Leduc-Lapierre
Great Lakes Commission
(734) 971-9135
michelel@glc.org

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