WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Power Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), today held a hearing examining a discussion draft of a bill to reauthorize the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) pipeline safety program.
The Energy and Commerce Committee has a long, bipartisan tradition working to advance pipeline safety, most recently working in conjunction with the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to enact the Pipeline Safety Act of 2011. Unfortunately, 16 safety mandates of the act still have yet to be implemented by PHMSA. The discussion draft considered today includes targeted mandates for PHMSA to increase transparency and accountability, complete overdue regulations, and improve safety.
As Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) noted, “We cannot achieve the intended objectives of the Pipeline Safety Act until it has been fully implemented.”
Andrew Black, President and CEO of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines, echoed this sentiment, saying, “As we move closer to the next reauthorization of the national pipeline safety program, there is still much left for PHMSA to do from the 2011 reauthorization law. … We commend Congress for its recent oversight of PHMSA, which has resulted in the Administration issuing several rulemaking proposals and promising additional proposals, and encourage your ongoing oversight.”
PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez expressed a willingness to fully implement the 2011 provisions, stating, “As PHMSA works diligently to complete the remaining mandates from the 2011 Pipeline Safety Act, we must also look forward to reauthorizing and advancing PHMSA’s pipeline safety program. … We look forward to working with the Congress to enhance PHMSA’s safety mission.”
Chairman Whitfield added, “Our discussion draft requires the Administrator to prioritize overdue regulations ahead of new rulemakings and keep us updated on their progress. To make sure we are not being too rigid, exceptions are allowed when there is a significant need for a new regulation. I look forward to continued discussions on the legislative draft the subcommittee considered today.”
Chairman Upton concluded, “The discussion draft considered today is a starting point in reauthorizing the 2011 law. I believe the provisions included within the draft will go a long way toward improving pipeline safety and increasing public confidence in our nation’s energy infrastructure. I look forward to continuing to work with our colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee as we move ahead.”
Additional information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, legislative text of the discussion draft, and witness testimony can be found on our website HERE.