Full Committee Clears Bipartisan Pipeline Safety Bill
WASHINGTON, DC – Leading off a marathon markup of 22 bills, the Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), today unanimously passed H.R. 5050, the Pipeline Safety Act of 2016. The committee has a long, bipartisan tradition of working to enact pipeline safety reform into law. In 2011, the committee worked in conjunction with the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to enact the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 into law.
The Pipeline Safety Act of 2016 is the culmination of months of bipartisan work to identify weaknesses in our pipeline safety laws. The legislation contains targeted mandates for PHMSA to increase transparency and accountability, complete overdue regulations, and improve pipeline safety. The legislation also tightens provisions allowing PHMSA to issue emergency orders, brings transparency and interagency reviews to the regulatory process, and increases inspections for some underwater oil pipelines. During the markup, Chairman Upton offered a manager’s amendment to perfect and clarify some of the language of the bill. The manager’s amendment passed by voice vote.
“Pipeline safety is something that we should all take seriously and it’s been a priority of mine since I became chairman following the spill in Southwest Michigan that impacted the Kalamazoo River,” said Upton. “While an accident can happen in an instant, the damage takes years to fix, underscoring the need for strong safety laws. We promised action, and today, we passed a bill that authorizes PHMSA for five years and goes a long way in strengthening pipeline safety.”