American Gas Association testifies before House on pipeline reauthorization

Published on May 06, 2019 by Dave Kovaleski

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An official from the American Gas Association testified before a Congressional subcommittee last week to share the association’s views and recommendations on the Pipeline Safety Reauthorization process.

Christina Sames, AGA’s vice president of operations and engineering services, emphasized three critical points on the Pipeline Safety Reauthorization process to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Energy.

One is the importance of preserving industry engagement in pipeline safety rulemaking. Another is recognizing that gas distribution systems differ so shouldn’t be subject to one-size-fits-all safety mandates. The third is a request that new mandates do not delay pipeline replacements or require replacement faster than can be accomplished safely.

“AGA and its member companies support reasonable, flexible, risk-based, and practicable updates to pipeline safety regulation that build upon lessons learned and evolving improvements to safety and pipeline technology. Following this path leads to the sort of regulatory certainty our industry needs to better serve our customers,” Sames said in her testimony.

She also said the Pipeline Safety Reauthorization should include a cost-benefit analysis process, professional engineer licensing requirements, pipeline safety management systems, and records requirement.

“AGA member companies are embedded in the communities they serve and interact daily with customers and with the state regulators who oversee pipeline safety locally. The distribution industry takes very seriously the responsibility of continuing to deliver natural gas to our families, neighbors, and business partners safely, reliably and responsibly,” Sames said. “We look forward to continued work with all the key stakeholders as we develop and finalize this critical legislation, keeping focused on advancing safety and avoiding changes that would be counterproductive to the government and gas industry’s mutual interest in the constant improvement of pipeline safety practices and technology and our mutual interest in overall public safety.”