WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), today approved legislation to improve the safety of our nation’s pipelines and save jobs. Both the Pipeline Infrastructure and Community Protection Act and the Energy and the Energy and Revenue Enrichment Act passed the subcommittee by voice vote.
The Pipeline Infrastructure and Community Protection Act would strengthen pipeline safety standards in an effort to enhance protections to the environment and public safety. At today’s markup, the subcommittee adopted a substitute amendment offered by Energy and Commerce Committee Fred Upton (R-MI) along with Chairman Emeritus John Dingell (D-MI). The updated legislation sets maximum allowable operating pressures to addresses the problems that led to the fatal pipeline explosion last year in San Bruno, California and also includes new provisions for pipelines crossing waterways to address vulnerabilities shown by the recent Yellowstone River spill.
“This bill demands improvements in both technology and personnel that can help prevent leaks from occurring in the first place and reduce the damage if they do,” said Chairman Upton. “This is a subject with a long and bipartisan history, and I am pleased to be working with my friend and colleague John Dingell to jointly sponsor the legislation we are considering today. I appreciate the bipartisan collaboration that helped produce the bill we are considering today, and I look forward to additional improvements as we move forward.”
The Energy and Revenue Enrichment Act, introduced by Chairman Whitfield, would initiate a 2-year pilot program at facilities in Paducah, Kentucky and Portsmouth, Ohio to re-enrich uranium tails and direct revenues from the sale of the resulting product to environmental cleanup efforts. The bill would serve to save over a thousand jobs, reduce environmental cleanup costs, and generate billions of dollars in revenue for the government.
“This bill addresses a huge jobs issue. The Paducah plant will be retired in the coming years, and right now it has the capacity to handle the reenrichment of these tails, most of which are located right there at the plant. This can help save 1,200 jobs during the two year pilot program – not an insignificant consideration in this down economy and in a state where unemployment exceeds the national average,” said Whitfield.