New Coast Guard facility to focus on freshwater oil spills

Dec 5, 2018

The Coast Guard's northern Michigan oil spill response area.
Credit The U.S. Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard will open a new facility to prepare for a potential oil spill in the Great Lakes.


As part of the Coast Guard reauthorization bill signed into law by President Trump Tuesday, they will open a National Center of Expertise in the Great Lakes.


U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D), who sponsored the provision, says the facility will research clean up and response methods to an oil spill in freshwater.


“It was very clear from research scientists that we know a great deal about how to clean up oil in saltwater,” says Peters, “but we know very little about how to do it in freshwater.”


At a Senate hearing last year, former Coast Guard head Paul Zukunft said they weren’t prepared for an oil spill in the Great Lakes.


"I would go on the record to say that the Coast Guard is not semper paratus for a major pipeline oil spill in the Great Lakes," Zukunft said.


A final location for the facility hasn’t been determined. It will open within the next year.