House Committee Unanimously Approves Pipeline Safety Bill
Washington, DC – The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today unanimously approved bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) pipeline safety program and maintain the safety of our nation’s pipeline network.
H.R. 4937, the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016, is a four-year reauthorization that improves pipeline safety by closing gaps in federal standards, enhances the quality and timeliness of agency rulemakings, promotes better usage of data and technology to improve pipeline safety, and provides regulatory certainty for citizens, the safety community, and the industry.
The PIPES Act, was introduced on April 14, 2016, by Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-CA); Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Ranking Member Michael Capuano (D-MA); Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA); and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR).
“We have a responsibility and opportunity to ensure the efficiency and safety of the 2.6 million miles of pipelines transporting energy resources to Americans across the country,” Denham said. “This bipartisan legislation requires PHMSA to complete mandated safety requirements and to evaluate and report to Congress on their rulemaking process, making our pipelines safer than ever before. I’m pleased to see so much support in the Committee for this bill.”
“The legislation contains some important safety provisions, including giving the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration authority to act quickly to address industry-wide safety hazards as soon as they are discovered,” Capuano said. “The legislation also requires PMHSA to undertake a rulemaking for underground natural gas storage facilities. This bipartisan effort will enhance overall pipeline safety and oversight, and I thank my colleagues for their cooperative efforts.”
“Pipelines are critical to the economy of Central and Southwestern Pennsylvania, and the entire country,”Shuster said. “Moving energy products safely and efficiently improves our quality of life, keeps energy costs more affordable, and leads to significant job creation. The PIPES Act continues to build upon the pipeline safety advances we’ve been making in the U.S., improves our pipeline transportation system, and provides more regulatory certainty. We look forward to working with the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate to complete a final bill this year.”
“The bipartisan PIPES Act includes critical reforms and new tools to protect communities across the country from serious accidents involving the transportation of natural gas and hazardous liquids by pipeline,” DeFazio said. “The legislation provides critical new authority to allow the Secretary of Transportation to impose needed emergency restrictions and safety measures in the event of a serious accident or unsafe operating practices. It also provides vital grant funding to help states run robust pipeline inspection programs. I thank Chairmen Shuster and Denham for working with me and with Ranking Member Capuano to produce this bipartisan bill, and will work with them to move this legislation through the House.”
Click here for a more detailed summary of the PIPES Act.