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Hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee - "Enbridge Pipeline Oil Spill in Marshall, Michigan"


Location: Washington, DC

Chairman Obsetar, Ranking Member Mica, and Members of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure:

I commend you for holding this hearing on the Enbridge Pipeline Oil Spill in Marshall, Michigan, and for expanding its scope to include the tragic Pacific Gas & Electric natural gas explosion in San Bruno, California and the Enbridge release of crude oil in Romeoville, Illinois. I would like to thank Representative Mark Schauer, who, as both a member of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials, and as the member representing Marshall, Michigan has done extraordinary work to maintain the committee's focus on this issue. And, of course, I must thank my fellow Bay Area colleague Jackie Speier for all she has done on behalf of the victims and families whose lives have been disrupted by the deadly pipeline explosion in San Bruno. And I wish to offer the gratitude of the entire Bay Rea delegatio nto the first responders who worked valiantly save lives in the aftermath of the explosion. I also commend Representative Biggert for her work on behalf of the residents of Romeoville affected by the second Enbridge spill.

As we learned all too well in the wake of the Deepwater Hoizon disaster, taking the safety and integrity of our energy infrastructure for granted can have devastating consequences for human life, our environment, and our energy security. As the Enbridge and PG&E pipeline failures have shown us, those consequences are not limited to the Outer Continental Shelf or coastal communities. Agencies charged with the inspection and regulation of our energy infrastructure must place the health and safety of our constituents first and go about their work in a transparent and impartial fashion. Where the are barriers and hindrances to effective inspection and oversight of our energy infrastructure, we must identify and remove them. With respect to pipeline safety, that task fall largely to this Committee. That is why I am encouraged that the Committee is conducting this hearing and that the witnesses are making themselves available to speak to all three incidents as well as the larger issue of pipeline safety.

As the Committee moves forward and contemplates further action to address pipeline safety, it will have the full support of the entire House to ensure that all that can be done is being done to prevent future incidents. Once again, I thank the Committee for its time and attention to this important issue.

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