Senate committee advances bill to reauthorize pipeline safety administration

Published on August 02, 2019 by Dave Kovaleski

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The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee voted to reauthorize the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration (PHMSA).

The bill would ensure that states have the resources they need to enforce federal regulations on interstate pipeline safety. It also authorizes the PHMSA to take the lead in examining the potential for new technologies to support the inspections of pipelines. It also includes a provision to ensure that distribution system operators have plans to alert first responders of pipeline incidents quickly. Additionally, it requires a review of current regulations to ensure operators respond promptly to over-pressurization events, such as what happened in Massachusetts last year.

“Pipeline safety is critical to ensuring Nebraskans and all Americans have access to the energy that powers our homes, communities, and businesses. I was proud to work closely with Chairman Wicker and Ranking Member Cantwell, as well as Senators Duckworth and Markey on this bipartisan reauthorization of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Now that the bill has been approved by the Commerce Committee, I hope it can swiftly move to Senate passage,” Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE), chair of the Transportation and Safety Subcommittee and one of the bill’s sponsors, said.

Subcommittee Ranking Member Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) is also a sponsor of the bill.

“This bipartisan legislation reauthorizes PHMSA’s critical pipeline safety programs, increases funding for state inspection agencies, and advances new pipeline safety technologies and approaches. I’d like to thank Senator Fischer for her leadership throughout this process and for working with me to make sure this legislation provides PHMSA with the resources it needs to better protect homeowners and businesses in Illinois and across the country,” Duckworth said.