2015-04-11 / Letters

Preparing for Failure

To the Editor:

Regarding Straits area pipeline policies, this is to urge Straits and governmental leaders, and others, to direct an even higher priority toward implementing remedial alternatives.

Though normally an optimist in such situations, my concern here is that studying and discussing preventive and remedial pipeline possibilities could go on and on, for five or ten years or more. We all could continue to settle, in effect, for “Alternative D: None of the Above” — endless studying and discussion of alternatives, without useful policies being settled and implemented.

Re-reading the excellent recent opinion [March 5, 2015] in The St. Ignace News by Ken Winter, entitled, “Dire Straits: Great Lakes Pipeline and Policy Options,” was further alarming on many levels. I encourage others to re-read it too.

If possible, wise risks are best accepted in relation to our ability to tolerate losing or failure. Regarding pipeline failures, the inexorable environmental, economic, property value, and other risks appear simply intolerable, for people and businesses in the Straits, throughout Michigan, and beyond.

I would suggest the “least IM-perfect” policy alternative may lie in answering this question: “If there were to be a significant Straits or Great Lakes pipeline failure, what might we wish had been done to better prepare for it?”

The remedial answers probably would include the availability of distributions from large designated private, State, and Federal trust and endowment funds, broad emergency response training, major tested recovery equipment and supplies based in several locations in the Straits and beyond, and higher levels of various kinds of liability and disaster insurance coverage.

Chuk Kleber

Mackinac Island

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