Pipeline Safety Reform Passes House

Legislation aimed at reforming pipeline safety programs easily passed the U.S. House of Representatives on June 8, setting up a vote in the Senate as early as this month.

The House gave the bill voice-vote approval under suspension of the House rules, an expedited procedure requiring a two-thirds majority for passage.

The Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety bill, or PIPES, sponsored by Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), would authorize $720 million through fiscal 2019 for programs at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration with the intent of enhancing the inspection of the country’s pipelines.

Recent government audits that found safety problems with the pipeline network, as well as a massive leak of gas from an underground storage facility outside of Los Angeles this year that took months to clean up, prompted the impetus for advancing the legislation.

“Americans rely on the safe and effective transport of energy products through our nation’s system of pipelines. The PIPES Act improves the safety of this critical infrastructure network, and brings some needed reforms to the federal pipeline safety agency,” said House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), in a joint statement with the bill’s co-sponsors.

Senate leaders have yet to say when they would schedule a vote on the bill.

See additional coverage of this topic in the June 13 edition of Transport Topics.



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