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Energy and Power to Examine Pipeline Safety NEXT WEEK

Jul 7, 2015
Many Reforms Mandated By Law Signed in January 2012 Have Still Yet to Be Implemented

The Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, July 14, at 10:15 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Oversight of Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 and Related Issues.”

The hearing will examine how the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has progressed, or not, in implementing reforms established under the Pipeline Safety Act of 2011. The Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011, which the Energy and Commerce Committee helped write, included 42 congressional mandates of PHMSA, 17 of which remain incomplete well beyond the specified deadlines. While PHMSA has fulfilled many of these mandates, failure to implement all of the reforms on time raises questions about the integrity of PHMSA’s oversight of pipeline safety, especially in the wake of the May 19, 2015, crude oil spill along the Gaviota Coast in California. 

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) stated, “Pipeline safety is an issue we all can agree on. And while it’s getting time to renew the bill, many previous reforms have still yet to be implemented. With our newfound energy abundance, it’s imperative we ensure that our energy is transported safely and efficiently. PHMSA’s lack of progress in implementing the reforms required under our 2011 pipeline safety law raises serious questions about their ability to provide the oversight necessary to ensure safe operation of our nation’s pipelines. In light of recent events, it’s time we reexamine PHMSA’s implementation of the reforms that Congress enacted.” 

The committee recently sent two bipartisan letters related to pipeline safety. The first letter was sent to PHMSA and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requesting an update on the status of key pipeline safety reforms. The second letter was sent to Plains Pipeline requesting documents on the company’s maintenance and integrity operations.

The Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted.