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Pallone & Rush Applaud Committee Passage of Pipeline Reauthorization Legislation

Nov 19, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Rush (D-IL) applauded Committee passage of the “SAFER Pipelines Act of 2019” (H.R. ____), which was favorably reported, as amended, to the full House of Representatives by a vote of 30-21:

“Today, we followed through on our promise to safeguard the environment and combat climate change by approving comprehensive legislation that will protect the American people and our climate from unsafe pipelines,” said Chairman Pallone.  “I thank Energy Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Rush for his leadership on this bill that rebalances the law in favor of people and the environment, rather than industry.  The legislation will also help protect our climate by reversing the Trump rollback of President Obama’s methane rules.  This is a strong bill that is necessary to make our pipelines safe and secure, and I hope the full House will vote on it soon.”

“Since the early 2000s, hundreds of incidents have been submitted to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, resulting in a billion-dollar cost to the public, serious environmental damages, and hundreds of unfortunate injuries and fatalities.  Recent pipeline incidents in North Dakota and Massachusetts are crucial reminders of why we need enhanced safety measures for these systems,” said Energy Subcommittee Chairman Rush.  “The approval of this important piece of legislation is a win for both the environment and the public health by ensuring that pipelines are safer in every sense of the word.  I would like to thank Chairman Pallone for his help in getting this bill through Committee and I look forward to its full passage.”

H.R. ____, the “Safe, Accountable, Fair, and Environmentally Responsible Pipelines Act of 2019,” or the “SAFER Pipelines Act of 2019,” was introduced by Energy Subcommittee Chairman Rush.  This comprehensive pipeline safety legislation takes numerous steps to improve pipeline safety and address climate change by reducing emissions, preventing pipeline leaks, and holding pipeline operators accountable for reckless actions.  The bill also reinstates a 2016 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) final rule that set limitations on methane emissions across the natural gas and hazardous liquid pipeline sector.

Amendment to H.R. ____offered by Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX) was adopted by voice vote:

  • The amendment requires the Secretary to issue regulations for appropriate methods of assessment of transmission pipeline facilities that prioritize the use of internal inspection devices, pressure testing, and other methods before, in tandem with, or in lieu of, the use of direct assessment.

Amendment to H.R. ____offered by Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) was adopted by voice vote:

  • The amendment incorporates provisions from H.R. 2139, the “Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act,” in response to the pipeline incident in Massachusetts’ Merrimack Valley.

Amendment to H.R. ____offered by Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) was adopted by voice vote:

  • The amendment requires the Secretary of Transportation to convene a working group to consider better practices for engaging the public on pipeline safety.

Amendment to H.R. ____offered by Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) was adopted by voice vote:

  • The amendment moves the criminal standard from “knowingly or recklessly” to “knowingly or willfully.”

Amendment to H.R. ____offered by Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) was adopted by voice vote:

  • The amendment exempts distribution lines from being included in the National Pipeline Mapping System.

Amendment to H.R. ____offered by Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) was adopted by voice vote:

  • The amendment imposes a criminal penalty on the knowing or willful engagement in unauthorized turning manipulation of any valve of a pipeline facility under construction.

Amendment to H.R. ____offered by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) was adopted by voice vote:

  • The amendment requires the Secretary of Energy to carry out a program to establish policies and procedures to coordinate Federal agencies, States, and the energy sector as well as coordinate responses to physical and cyber incidents impacting the energy sector.

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