Ensuring Safety and Reliability: Examining the Reauthorization Needs of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

2167 Rayburn House Office Building

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0 Tuesday, May 07, 2024 @ 10:15 | Contact: Justin Harclerode 202-225-9446

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

Witness List:

  • Mr. Tristan Brown, Deputy Administrator, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation | Witness Testimony
  • Ms. Christina Sames; Senior Vice President, Safety, Operations, Engineering, and Security; American Gas Association | Witness Testimony
  • Mr. Robin Rorick; Vice President, Midstream Policy; American Petroleum Institute | Witness Testimony 
  • Mr. Bill Caram, Executive Director, Pipeline Safety Trust | Witness Testimony
  • Washington, D.C. – Opening remarks, as prepared, of Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chairman Troy Nehls (R-TX) from hearing, entitled “Ensuring Safety and Reliability: Examining the Reauthorization Needs of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration”:

    Today’s hearing will examine the need to reauthorize the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, including providing it new direction and authority over emerging energy sources. This past fall, myself, Chairman Graves, Ranking Member Larsen, and Ranking Member Payne introduced H.R. 6494, the Promoting Innovation in Pipeline Efficiency and Safety (PIPES) Act of 2023

    Last December, the Committee passed H.R. 6494 out of Committee on a bipartisan basis. In crafting this bill, the Committee solicited input from a wide range of parties, and in turn received about 90 priorities from Members and over 100 requests from pipeline safety stakeholders. I am grateful for the support from Members of this committee in putting together this important piece of bipartisan legislation.

    In our country, roughly 3.3 million miles of onshore pipelines safely and efficiently carry natural gas, crude, hydrogen, hazardous liquids, and other energy sources vital for our nation’s energy independence, making it of utmost importance for Congress to ensure PHMSA is focused on its core mission of advancing the safe transportation of these resources.

    The PIPES Act of 2023 reauthorizes PHMSA for four years and provides the necessary resources and direction for the agency to fulfill its pipeline safety oversight responsibilities in an efficient and effective manner. The bill contains several provisions to accomplish this, including an authorization for additional pipeline safety technical experts to complete outstanding congressional mandates.

    Over the past 20 years more than 1,400 excavation damage incidents have occurred. Therefore, H.R. 6494 includes measures to strengthen state programs to reduce the number of excavation damage incidents, promoting the public’s safety.

    The PIPES Act of 2023 will also support PHMSA’s efforts to oversee the safe transportation of new and emerging fuels by directing PHMSA to update regulations for the safe transportation of carbon dioxide and to study the use of hydrogen-blending in natural gas. These and other provisions in the PIPES Act of 2023 will ensure the safety and reliability of the U.S. pipeline network and the transportation of our critical energy resources.

    It is more important than ever that PHMSA receive a regular reauthorization from Congress to provide both the agency and regulated community much needed certainty in federal pipeline safety policy and to provide legislative direction to address pressing areas of concern in pipeline safety.

    I want to thank our witnesses for being here today and for sharing their perspectives on pipeline safety reauthorization and what it means for PHMSA, industry, and the communities where the transportation of our energy products takes place.

    I will also note that my colleagues on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have also passed pipeline safety reauthorization legislation through Committee based on their jurisdiction. Despite such action in the House, we have yet to see any movement in the Senate from Leader Schumer and his majority. As the House has shown, it is possible to legislate in a bipartisan manner in the name of pipeline safety. I call on the Senate to follow suit, and hope to work with them in the near future.

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