House Transportation Committee approves pipeline safety bill

The US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed pipeline safety legislation on Sept. 8, and the bill’s sponsors said the legislation will impose tougher penalties and improve operations.

HR 2845 would require the US Transportation secretary to evaluate the effectiveness of expanded leak detection and integrity management requirements, improve emergency communications from pipelines and the federal government to state and local emergency responders, and reform the accident-reporting process for operators.

“Pipelines are the safest and most cost-effective means to transport the natural gas and hazardous liquid products that fuel our economy,” said Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), the bill’s main sponsor and chairman of the committee’s Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee.

“By reauthorizing federal pipeline safety programs through fiscal 2015, HR 2845 provides the regulatory certainty necessary for pipeline owners and operators to plan for the future, make investments in this infrastructure, and create American jobs,” Shuster said.

 

‘Greater confidence’

The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America and the American Gas Association each separately applauded the bill’s passage.

INGAA President Donald F. Santa said timely reauthorization “will create greater confidence in the safety of this critical energy infrastructure.”

AGA President Dave McCurdy said that the action reflected bipartisan congressional support that the gas industry needs to increase pipeline safety and environmental protection.

“Reauthorization will provide legislative and regulatory certainty for all pipeline stakeholders,” he said.

But Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, said before the committee’s vote that the bill ignored strong recommendations the National Transportation Safety Board made following a Sept. 9, 2010, gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, Calif.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com

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