Leaders of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today announced a major bipartisan, bicameral agreement on a measure to enhance the nation's pipeline safety programs.
Newly agreed upon language to amend the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 (H.R. 2845), will reauthorize federal pipeline safety programs through fiscal year 2015. This initiative will enhance pipeline transportation safety as well as reliability in the transportation of energy products throughout the nation. By providing greater regulatory certainty, the bill will help create a better economic environment for U.S. businesses to create jobs.
"This important legislation builds on our strong commitment to ensuring the continued safety of our nation's pipeline system and provides the regulatory certainty needed for industry to make investments and create American jobs," said Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA). "I am proud this final product strengthens current laws and fills the gaps in existing laws where necessary while striking a balanced approach that applies cost benefit principles."
"I'm proud of the bipartisan work that went into developing this legislation," said Railroads Subcommittee Chairwoman Corrine Brown (D-FL). "This bill will go a long way in improving pipeline monitoring and safety, and help educate communities and first responders in reacting to pipeline emergencies."
"This measure to enhance pipeline safety programs will make the transportation of energy products in the United States even safer, and it will ensure a common sense regulatory approach that allows America's job creators to grow and put people to work," said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL). "I am pleased that Republicans and Democrats in both chambers came together to move this important bill forward."
"This legislation will make significant improvements to pipeline safety by addressing NTSB recommendations that stem from several recent pipeline incidents" said Committee Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall (D-WV). "It is a prime example of how good public policy is formed when all sides come together and work toward producing a strong package. It is my hope that this bipartisan practice, which has long been a tradition of this Committee, will continue."
Reps. Shuster and Mica introduced H.R. 2845 in the House, and were joined by Ranking Members Rahall and Brown is unanimously approving the legislation in Committee in September. Transportation Committee leaders worked with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Upton, Ranking Member Waxman, other E&C Committee leaders, as well as Senate committee leaders to reach agreement. Congress may consider the legislation next week, in time to send a bill to the President's desk before the end of the year.
The Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainly, and Job Creation Act of 2011 authorizes funding for programs of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the federal agency that oversees safety programs for the 2.3 million miles of natural gas, petroleum, and other hazardous liquid pipelines in the United States.
This system of pipelines serves as the arteries of the nation's energy infrastructure, enabling the safe, efficient and economical movement of extraordinary quantities of energy products to industry and consumers, literally fueling the U.S. economy. Since 1986, the volume of energy products transported through pipelines has increased by one-third, yet the number of reportable incidents has decreased by 28 percent. Government and industry have taken steps to improve pipeline safety, and the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act ensures that we continue the nation's commitment to making this safe form of transportation even safer.
Summary of the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011
· Bipartisan, bicameral agreement between House Transportation Committee, House Energy and Commerce Committee, and U.S. Senate;
· Reauthorizes federal pipeline safety programs of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) through FY 2015;
· Provides regulatory certainty necessary for pipeline owners and operators to plan infrastructure investments and create jobs;
· Improves pipeline transportation -- the safest and most cost-effective means to transport natural gas and hazardous liquid products -- by strengthening enforcement of current laws and filling gaps in existing law where necessary;
· Ensures a balanced regulatory approach to improving safety that applies cost benefit principles;
· Addresses National Transportation Safety Board recommendations resulting from recent pipeline incidents;
· Protects and preserves Congressional authority by ensuring certain key rulemakings are not finalized until Congress has an opportunity to act;
· Supported by both pipeline industry and safety advocates.