US Senate committee approves pipeline safety reauthorization bill

The US Senate’s Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved a federal pipeline safety reauthorization bill by voice vote on July 31. S. 2299, which includes provisions affecting the US PHMSA, was referred to the full Senate for consideration.

The US Senate’s Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved a federal pipeline safety reauthorization bill by voice vote on July 31. S. 2299, which includes provisions affecting the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), was referred immediately to the full Senate for consideration.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), who chairs the committee’s Transportation and Safety Subcommittee, introduced the bill with the subcommittee’s ranking minority member Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).

The senators jointly said that the bill’s key provisions:

• Ensure that states have the resources they need to enforce the federal regulations they are required to oversee, allowing PHMSA to focus its resources on interstate pipeline safety.

• Authorize PHMSA to take the lead in examining the potential for new technologies to support safe and efficient pipeline inspections.

• Continue congressional oversight of PHMSA’s work to complete outstanding mandates from the 2012 and 2016 reauthorizations by requiring the US Department of Transportation agency to periodically update the Senate Commerce Committee on the agency’s progress.

• Provide operators incentives to notify PHMSA of violations prior to discover by the agency. This will encourage greater response to violations and incidents.

• Ensure that local distribution systems have plans in place to quickly alert first responders when incidents occur.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@endeavorb2b.com.

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