US Senate bill boosts funding for pipeline regulation, inspection

By the OGJ Online Staff

WASHINGTON, DC, July 13 -- The US Senate Committee on Appropriations passed a bill Thursday to boost funding for pipeline safety programs $11 million over current levels for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

The proposal is part of a bill providing $58.8 million for the Office of Pipeline Safety, a part of the US Department of Transportation. The Senate's appropriation is $10 million more than the House, and $5 million more than the White House's request.

OPS is the federal agency in charge of monitoring the country's extensive pipeline infrastructure.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Appropriations transportation subcommittee, said, "I became involved in this issue after a tragic liquid pipeline accident that claimed the lives of three young men in Bellingham, Wash., 2 years ago.

"The bill fully funds the request for additional staffing for the community right-to-know initiative and the new integrity management program. The bill also adds money for OPS research, development and testing programs."

The full Senate is expected to take up the measure later this month. The White House has not said whether it supports the Senate version.

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