Montana's Congressman, Denny Rehberg, joined the U.S. House of Representatives in passing legislation to enhance America's energy infrastructure, helping to create greater regulatory certainty in the energy sector and improving the economic environment for U.S. businesses to create jobs. The Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 (H.R. 2845) passed the House on Monday night with bi-partisan support.
"Montana has so much potential energy, we just need to improve how we harness, refine and transport that energy so we can create jobs," said Rehberg. "Safer infrastructure means more stability. This common-sense bill takes a balanced regulatory approach. In fact, I testified before the committee that produced this bill in order to impart hard-learned lessons from the spill in Yellowstone County. Pipelines aren't perfect, but with this sort of bill, we can make them as safe and clean as anything else out there."
Rehberg worked closely with colleagues from both parties to shape this important legislation. Earlier this year, Rehberg invited Montana colleague Jon Tester to a hearing he requested with the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials. The next day, Rehberg testified before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, which is a part of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The measure passed last night authorizes funding for programs that oversee the safety of the 2.3 million miles of natural gas and petroleum liquid pipelines in the U.S. This system enables the safe and efficient movement 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, while the number of reportable incidents has decreased by 28 percent. In July, Rehberg provided testimony on the Yellowstone Pipeline spill at two House hearings on pipeline safety.
Summary of the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011
* 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, like the July 2011 spill in Yellowstone County
* 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