Law students at the University of Michigan and attorneys with the National Wildlife Federation investigated the aftermath of the 2010 oil spill in Marshall, Mich. Line 6B of the Lakehead oil pipeline ruptured July 2010 near Marshall, spilling heavy crude oil from Alberta tar sands into the Talmadge Creek and Kalamazoo River.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated more than 27,000 barrels of so-called heavy oil has been recovered.
Sara Gosman, a water resources attorney for the National Wildlife Federation, said federal laws aren't strong enough to protect the Great Lakes.
"Contrary to common perception, oil spills are an ongoing problem in the region," she said. "Federal and state laws should do more to prevent spills and protect our communities, economy and wildlife."
The National Wildlife Federation study found there were wasn't a federal review process associated with oil pipelines in the Great Lakes basin. Any spill response planning, the report adds, isn't good enough because authority is divided among several federal agencies.