US Senate panel passes pipeline safety reauthorization bill

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, May 6 -- The US Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee passed a pipeline safety bill by voice vote on May 5 and referred the measure to the Senate floor for final approval. S. 275 was originally introduced by the committee’s chairman, John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), and its Surface Transportation Subcommittee chairman, Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ).

Officials of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines, Interstate Natural Gas Association, and American Gas Association applauded the committee’s action. “Democrat and Republican lawmakers worked across party lines to address a number of key issues, and they all deserve credit for passing this important legislation and presenting the full Senate with the opportunity to do the same,” AGA Pres. Dave McCurdy said.

The bill would update and improve federal pipeline safety policy in several areas, including integrity management and damage prevention, according to INGAA Pres. Donald F. Santa. “Combined with regulatory initiatives that the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is expected to launch and the initiatives INGAA is undertaking through our board-level pipeline safety taskforce efforts, we believe the result will be a safer pipeline system nationwide,” he said.

AOPL Pres. Andrew J. Black said S. 275’s provision that state one-call notification programs may not exempt municipalities, state agencies, or their contractors was particularly important. “We encourage Congress and PHMSA to remove additional exemptions for mechanized excavation in order to eliminate the safety gap that these exemptions cause,” he said. “A pipeline does not care whose backhoe hits it.”

Black said AOPL also approves of the committee’s adopting an amendment by Sen. John Thune (R-SD) which AOPL believes would improve due process protections for pipelines that commonly are found across other federal regulatory agencies.

“As Congress considers proposals to increase maximum civil penalties by 150%, and as PHMSA further exercises its enforcement authority, it is time to update the procedural rules PHMSA must follow when using its enforcement authority,” he said. “The Thune amendment is a good start toward implementing basic procedural reforms and greater transparency in the decision-making process.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

Kulluk conical drilling unit

USCG: ‘Chain of errors’ led to Shell drilling unit running aground

04/04/2014 A US Coast Guard (USCG) investigation has found that a “chain of errors” led to the Royal Dutch Shell PLC conical drilling unit, the Kulluk, runnin...

Move carefully on crude exports, refiner urges House subcommittee

04/04/2014 Tight oil formations have helped the US increase its crude production dramatically, an independent refiner conceded. But the nation should proceed ...

Scott links South Atlantic OCS access bill to jobs growth plan

04/03/2014 US Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced a bill that would reverse the Obama administration’s exclusion of four South Atlantic coastal states from activ...

BLM launches EIS on existing White River National Forest leases

04/02/2014 The US Bureau of Land Management initiated an environmental impact statement on 65 existing oil and gas leases in Colorado’s White River National F...

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected