Reauthorization of DOT’s Pipeline Safety Program
2167 Rayburn House Office Building
This is a hearing of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.
Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials
Hearing on “Reauthorization of DOT’s Pipeline Safety Program”
February 25, 2016
(Remarks as Prepared)
Our hearing today will focus on the reauthorization of the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline Safety Program, which is administered by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).
The United States has the largest network of energy pipelines in the world, and it powers nearly every facet of our daily activities. In order to ensure that pipelines continue to be the safest and most cost-effective means to transport energy products, diligent oversight of DOT’s pipeline safety programs is a top priority. Pipelines account for the transportation of 64 percent of the energy commodities consumed in the United States.
Pipeline safety is carried out in a partnership between PHMSA, state regulators, and the private sector. Over the past decade, private entities and the government have taken many steps to ensure the safety of U.S. pipelines. Congress enacted the 2011 pipeline safety bill to strengthen our efforts, and we have been carefully monitoring DOT’s progress at completing the remaining mandates from the 2011 Act. This hearing follows two hearings and a roundtable we had last year on these pipeline safety issues.
The 2011 law included 42 congressional mandates, of which only 26 are complete. Although PHMSA has released a major rulemaking on hazardous liquids requirements, it has yet to produce several other important rulemakings. Today we will hear from PHMSA and other stakeholders on where all the 2011 Act mandates stand.
We will also look towards the next pipeline reauthorization bill, which is my top legislative priority for the coming year. We want to ensure that this legislation provides regulatory certainty for our citizens, the safety community, and industry stakeholders. The bill will be bipartisan, and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with our colleagues from the Committee on Energy and Commerce as we move a bill forward.
I look forward to hearing from stakeholders on how we can build on the 2011 Act, and what the 2016 reauthorization needs to accomplish. I look forward to hearing how industry is also being proactive in its own safety initiatives to ensure best practices for inspections, detecting leaks, and other important safety initiatives.
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