U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin today announced that the Senate passed legislation last night to help prevent future pipeline disasters like Enbridge from occurring. The Pipeline Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2011 gives the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration the ability to increase the level of safety in our nation's pipeline networks.
"The Kalamazoo River oil spill was a tragedy for Calhoun County and communities across Southwest Michigan," said Stabenow. "This legislation will help improve the safety of the Enbridge pipeline and all pipelines that run through Michigan, keeping our communities and families safer from future preventable accidents."
"The need for this legislation was made all too clear with last year's oil spill in the Kalamazoo River, and I am pleased the Senate has passed it," said Levin, D-Mich. "The bill will improve the safety and security of pipelines across the nation, including those that run through Michigan, helping to protect against further incidents like the Enbridge spill."
The legislation contains numerous provisions to increase the level of safety in our nation's pipeline networks including more stringent safety standards and requirements such as time limits on accident and leak notification by pipeline operators to local and state government officials and installation of automatic or remote-controlled shut-off valves on new transmission pipelines. The bill will also authorize additional pipeline inspectors and safety support employees and increase transparency of pipeline information, inspections and standards. Finally, the legislation increases the cap on civil penalties for violators of pipeline regulations and adds civil penalties for obstructing investigations.
The legislation must now be considered by the House of Representatives where similar legislation has been introduced by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.