Press Releases

T&I Committee Leaders Introduce Bipartisan Pipeline Safety Reauthorization Bill

Washington, D.C., November 30, 2023 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446
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Washington, D.C. – The leaders of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee introduced H.R. 6494, the Promoting Innovation in Pipeline Efficiency and Safety (PIPES) Act of 2023.  The bipartisan legislation reauthorizes the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) pipeline safety programs for the next four years and provides an efficient and effective framework to advance the safety of energy infrastructure across the United States.

The bill was introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO); full Committee Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-WA); Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chairman Troy Nehls (R-TX); and Subcommittee Ranking Member Donald M. Payne Jr. (R-NJ).

“Pipelines are the safest, most environmentally friendly, and most economically efficient means of delivering oil, gas, hazardous liquids, and increasing volumes of future fuels to market,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves.  “This bill achieves the right balance between ensuring the safe transportation of energy produced from conventional, unconventional, and alternative sources while also ensuring the United States remains a competitive global leader in the production of newer energy resources, such as hydrogen, and in environmental protection.  I’m proud of the bipartisan efforts in this bill that will help ensure continued innovation, safety, and independence in our nation’s energy industry, and that will keep PHMSA focused on its core mission of pipeline safety.”

“This bipartisan pipeline safety bill will strengthen the safety of the millions of miles of existing gas and hazardous liquid pipelines as well as new carbon dioxide and hydrogen pipelines that will be needed thanks to energy investments made by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.  Since the tragic Olympic pipeline explosion in Bellingham in 1999 that killed three boys, I have worked to ensure hazardous products carried by pipelines stay in the pipelines,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Rick Larsen. “The bill will establish strong guidelines to avoid tragedies like the explosion in Bellingham and I am grateful to Chairman Graves for working with me to keep our pipelines safe.  I also appreciate the perspective and expertise that the Pipeline Safety Trust brought to this process to deliver an effective bill to protect the public and the environment.”

“The bipartisan PIPES Act of 2023 will streamline bureaucratic red tape while authorizing important safety programs to ensure our nation’s pipelines are the safest in the world,” said Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chairman Troy Nehls.  “The PIPES Act will ensure that previous Congressional mandates are undertaken appropriately while adding important transparency provisions for the public.  I am proud that our bipartisan bill requires PHMSA to complete a rulemaking to establish minimum safety standards for the transportation and temporary storage of CO2 in a gaseous state, a significant win for both the environment and the oil and gas industry.  This is a critical step to streamline the red tape for liquefied natural gas coordination among federal agencies, and the bill imposes criminal penalties on bad actors interfering with the safe transportation of energy.  Thank you, Chairman Graves, Ranking Member Larsen, and Ranking Member Payne, for introducing this important legislation, and I look forward to the President signing it into law.”

“I am proud to help create a safer pipeline network with the PIPES Act of 2023 and increased support for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA),” said Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Ranking Member Donald M. Payne, Jr.  “There are 3.4 million miles of pipelines in our country that carry natural gas and petroleum to communities nationwide.  The PIPES Act will allow PHMSA to hire additional workers to make sure these pipelines continue to remain safe for transportation.  It will allow PHMSA to regulate carbon-dioxide pipelines more effectively and promote more methods to contain greenhouse gases.  In addition, the bill will make it easier for Historically-Black Colleges and Universities as well as other Minority Serving Institutions to educate and develop the next generation of pipeline safety professionals.  I applaud my colleagues from both parties for working together on this important bill.”

In summary, the bill:

Advances Traditional and Emerging Fuels and Technology
The PIPES Act of 2023 supports the safe operations of both traditional and innovative, emerging energy sources and the technology to support them, strengthening the foundation for an all-of-the-above American energy future.  Provisions in the bill authorize a study of current hydrogen blending projects, require PHMSA to complete a rulemaking on standards for the transportation and temporary storage of carbon dioxide, direct a study of composite pipeline material for potential hydrogen service, create a federal working group to clarify regulation and oversight of liquefied natural gas facilities, and more.

Reemphasizes and Improves PHMSA’s Safety Mission
The PIPES Act of 2023 recognizes that PHMSA’s mission is to advance pipeline safety. The bill directs PHMSA to move forward rulemakings allowed by Congress in previous laws to improve pipeline operations, strengthens criminal penalties for pipeline damage or disruption, increases civil penalties on operators that violate safety rules, authorizes the hiring of additional pipeline safety experts to address workforce shortages, expands leading practices for preventing excavation damage, directs the National Academies to study PHMSA’s integrity management regulations and their impact on safety, and more.  

Fosters Collaboration and Transparency
The PIPES Act of 2023 improves clarity, transparency, and accountability at PHMSA.  The bill requires PHMSA to maintain a list of industry standards considered for adoption and the agency’s adjudication of those standards, creates a system to encourage voluntary  information sharing from stakeholders, improves PHMSA’s public outreach and engagement efforts, makes publicly available a report of PHMSA’s inspection and enforcement priorities through fiscal year 2027, encourages the issuance of guidance to improve pipeline safety information sharing with the public, increases the available funding for small and mid-sized educational institutions to participate in PHMSA’s competitive academic agreement program efforts, and more.

The full text of the legislation can be found here.

A section-by-section summary of the legislation can be found here.

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