Oil Transportation in the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Region: Project Archive

Jul 2019 | Library, Project Archives, Water Quality

This project has ended. Archived project materials are available below.

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 decision-makers. 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.

Funding for our work on oil transportation was provided by multiple sources, including the C.S. Mott Foundation and the Joyce Foundation.

Project Fact Sheet

Project Summary

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 decision-makers 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..

Crude Move Symposium

On June 8-9, 2017, U.S. and Canadian government, industry, academic and NGO stakeholders participated in the first-of-its-kind crude oil movement meeting for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin and other critical northern watersheds including Lake Champlain and the Hudson River.

Hosted by the Great Lakes Commission, the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, Sea Grant state programs from the Gulf of Mexico and International Joint Commission, this meeting provided an opportunity to increase our understanding on the complexity of crude oil movement in these important northern basins. Topics included regional transportation, economics, hazards and risk, emergency response and lessons learned from the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River region.

Recordings of the presentations are available here.

Proceedings are available under “Publications” on this page.

Research on key aspects of oil transportation

In August 2015, the GLC received a small grant from the Mott Foundation for the preparation of research papers on key aspects of oil transportation in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River region. Three projects have been chosen:

Status of Infrastructure Related to Crude Oil Transportation in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Region
Author: Dr. Bradley Hull, John Carroll University
Summary: This paper reviews the crude-oil pipeline, rail, and waterborne infrastructure in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River region. It briefly discusses the region’s refineries as well as infrastructure projects outside of the region that may have a significant impact on the region as well as a discussion of crude oil supply projections and the impact we might expect in the region.

The Economic Impact of Crude Oil Transportation in the Great Lakes
Authors: Dr. Marcello Graziano, Central Michigan University; Peter Gunther, Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis, University of Connecticut; and Dr. Eva Lema, Central Michigan University
Summary: This report presents an introductory analysis to the economic contribution of crude oil transportation across the Great Lakes Region, while presenting currently available data.

Environmental Sensitivity to Oil Exposure in the Great Lakes Waters: A multimodal approach
Authors: Dr. Jerome Marty, University of Waterloo and Adrian Nicoll, Carleton University
Summary: The objective of this study is to complete a sensitivity analysis to oil exposure in the Great Lakes based on a spatial, multimodal approach that includes oil transported via marine, rail and pipeline transport modes. This analysis provides a visual tool to compare the contribution of the sensitivity of various sources of oil transported in the Great Lakes basin.

*Any opinions, findings, or conclusions expressed in these papers are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of their employers, the Great Lakes Commission or its member states and provinces.

Publications

Proceedings of Crude Move Symposium: Oil Transportation Infrastructure, Economics, Risks, Hazards and Lessons Learned (2017)

Full document

Research on key aspects of oil transportation (2017)

*Any opinions, findings, or conclusions expressed in these papers are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of their employers, the Great Lakes Commission or its member states and provinces.

Status of Infrastructure Related to Crude Oil Transportation in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Region
By Dr. Bradley Hull, John Carroll University

The Economic Impact of Crude Oil Transportation in the Great Lakes
By Dr. Marcello Graziano, Central Michigan University; Peter Gunther, Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis, University of Connecticut; and Dr. Eva Lema, Central Michigan University

Environmental Sensitivity to Oil Exposure in the Great Lakes Waters: A multimodal approach
By Dr. Jerome Marty, University of Waterloo and Adrian Nicoll, Carleton University

Inspection and Maintenance of Crude Oil Transmission Pipelines in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Region (2017)

Paper
Poster

Oil Transportation Regulatory Framework (2017)

Paper

Great Lakes Community Emergency Response and Planning (2017)

Factsheet

Using and Understanding the Term RISK (2017)

Background document

Issues and Trends Surrounding the Movement of Crude Oil in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Region (2015)

Main report
Issue Brief 1: Developments in Crude Oil Extraction and Movement
Issue Brief 2: Advantages, Disadvantages and Economic Benefits Associated with Crude Oil Transportation
Issue Brief 3: Crude Oil Transport: Risks and Impacts
Issue Brief 4: Regulations, Policies and Programs Governing Transport of Crude Oil

 

Emergency Preparedness and Response Programs for Oil and Hazardous Materials Spills – Challenges and Priorities for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River (2012)

Full report

This report was presented to the Great Lakes Commission as a product of the Emergency Preparedness Task Force that was established in 2010.

For More Information

Tom Crane
Deputy Director, Great Lakes Commission
734-971-9135
[email protected]

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