The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of the House of Representatives last week unanimously approved bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) for four years and maintain the safety of the United States' pipeline network.
House Resolution (HR) 4937, the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016, improves pipeline safety through a number of far-reaching measures such as
- closing gaps in federal standards;
- enhancing the quality and timeliness of agency rule makings;
- promoting better usage of data and technology to improve pipeline safety;
- providing regulatory certainty for citizens, the safety community, and the industry.
Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Ranking Member Michael Capuano (D-MA) said "the legislation contains some important safety provisions, including giving the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration authority to act quickly to address industry-wide safety hazards as soon as they are discovered. The legislation also requires PMHSA to undertake a rulemaking for underground natural gas storage facilities. This bipartisan effort will enhance overall pipeline safety and oversight, and I thank my colleagues for their cooperative efforts.”
Dave McCurdy, American Gas Association (AGA) President and CEO also emphasized the safety criterion in this particular bill: "This is important progress towards getting a final pipeline safety reauthorization bill on the President’s desk this year. Safety is the top priority for natural gas utilities. The safety of our nation’s natural gas infrastructure depends on the diligent work of our local and federal regulators. We look forward to the House Committees working together to create one pipeline safety reauthorization bill that they can put to a vote before the entire chamber.”