Second US House committee passes pipeline safety bill

The US House Energy and Commerce Committee on Sept. 21 unanimously approved a bill reauthorizing the federal Pipeline Safety Act. The measure, HR 2937, now has to be reconciled with HR 2845, which the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed on Sept. 9.

Pipeline associations applauded HR 2937’s passage by the committee. Association of Oil Pipe Lines President Andrew J. Black said that its provisions prohibiting one-call exemptions for state and local governments, and requirements for studies of leak detection and one-call exemptions should help continue a downward trend in liquid pipeline accidents.

“The two House committees of jurisdiction on this issue have worked quickly to produce their own versions of pipeline safety legislation,” noted Donald F. Santa, president of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America. “INGAA believes that these two bills can be ‘merged’ into an achievable compromise and presented to the House in the next few weeks.”

Black also called on the US Senate to approve S 275, a pipeline safety bill which the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee unanimously adopted on July 7.

In a separate statement, Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, said that HR 2937, while not perfect, was the strongest passed by Congress so far and would integrate easily with the Senate’s bill.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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