Members of US Congress call for tougher pipeline safety bill

Two key Democrats in the US House of Representatives Thursday criticized the Senate-passed pipeline safety bill and urged their colleagues to pass even tougher legislation to protect people living and working near gas and hazardous liquids lines.

WASHINGTON, DC�Two key members of the US House of Representatives Thursday urged their colleagues to pass a tough pipeline safety bill.

Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and James Oberstar (D-Minn.) said a bill passed by the Senate Sept. 7 would not provide the necessary protection for people living and working near gas and hazardous liquids pipelines.

Dingell is the ranking Democrat on the House Commerce Committee and Oberstar is the senior Democrat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Oberstar said, �The Senate bill is a good starting point, but it doesn�t go far enough. Specifically, we must enact tougher requirements for inspections and maintaining pipeline integrity.�

Dingell said, �The Senate bill does little to protect people from the deadly consequences of regulatory lassitude, nor does it sufficiently address issues of maintenance and corrosion.�

Although Congress is expected to adjourn in mid-October, Dingell and Oberstar said there is enough time for the House to draft and pass its own pipeline safety bill and go to conference with the Senate.

They said legislation should require pipeline operators to adopt integrity management programs, regardless of whether the transportation department completes a pending rulemaking to require them.

And, among other things, they said a bill should require frequent inspections of pipelines in high-population or environmentally sensitive areas.

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