Senate Confirms Nominee for Pipelines Agency

Howard “Skip” Elliott will be the next administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration following his Senate confirmation on Oct. 5.

Both a committee of jurisdiction and the chamber easily approved his nomination. He succeeds Acting Administrator Drue Pearce in managing an agency focused on overseeing the vast network of pipelines that transport toxic waste and oil. Ensuring the safety of the pipelines is atop the priorities.



Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.), who oversaw the nomination, had referred to Elliott as “well-qualified.”

In a questionnaire Elliott filled out for Thune’s committee he emphasized the agency “must quickly and without hesitation improve its responsiveness in resolving critical hazardous materials transportation safety issues and in establishing a solid reputation for demanding that all entities that manufacture, ship and transport hazardous materials and energy products are fully accountable to their responsibilities ... to mitigate the most serious deficiencies before they can escalate into major incidents impacting the public and the environment.”

Also, he indicated the agency needs to closely collaborate with federal and state agencies to ensure there is consistency in enforcement.

“Accomplishing this goal also means ensuring that PHMSA improves its safety inspection mandate working closely with state partners to apply inspection procedures that focus in on the most critical safety deficient areas,” he wrote.

Elliott was most recently vice president of public safety, health and environment at CSX Transportation. He earned degrees from Columbia Southern University and Indiana University.