PIPES Act of 2016 Implementation: Oversight of Pipeline Safety Programs

2167 Rayburn House Office Building

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0 Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 10:00 | Contact: Justin Harclerode 202-225-9446

This is a hearing of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.

Summary of Subject Matter

Full Hearing Transcript

Witness List:

Panel I

  • The Honorable Howard “Skip” Elliott, Administrator, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration | Written Testimony

    Panel II

  • Mr. Andrew Black, President and CEO, Association of Oil Pipe Lines | Written Testimony
  • Mr. Robin Rorick, Group Director, Midstream and Industry Operations, American Petroleum Institute | Written Testimony
  • Mr. Chad Zamarin, Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategic Development, The Williams Companies, on behalf of the Interstate Natural Gas Association | Written Testimony
  • Mr. Carl Weimer, Executive Director, Pipeline Safety Trust | Written Testimony

  • Chairman Jeff Denham (R-CA)
    Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials
    Opening Statement
    (Remarks as Prepared)

    Our hearing today will focus on the oversight of the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline Safety Program, which is administered by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

    The United States has the largest network of energy pipelines in the world, and it helps power nearly every facet of our daily activities.  Pipelines account for the transportation of 64 percent of the energy commodities consumed in the United States.

    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.   

    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 2016 PIPES Act to strengthen our efforts, and we have been carefully monitoring DOT’s progress at completing mandates from the PIPES Act, as well as remaining mandates from the 2011 Act.

    The PIPES Act provided regulatory certainty for our citizens, the safety community, and industry stakeholders.  The bill was bipartisan, and made progress towards ensuring the safety of pipelines and the communities around them.

    However, implementation of some requirements included in the PIPES Act and the 2011 reauthorization continue to be stalled.  The PIPES Act contained 19 mandates, 13 of which are complete.  The 2011 law included 42 congressional mandates, of which 34 are complete

    Today we will hear from PHMSA on where all the PIPES Act and 2011 Act mandates stand.  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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