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Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PRICE of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, we've all heard about many regulations that come from this town that seem to be ridiculous; sometimes they're innocuous, sometimes they're even humorous. These are regulations oftentimes that don't help anybody at all. Sometimes, however, they harm real people's lives and their homes and their businesses.

Last year, Mr. Chairman, along a half-mile stretch of Remington Road in Chamblee, Georgia, Plantation and Colonial Pipelines, under a requirement from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration, was forced to place 17 new hazard markers on the front lawns of homes--in a subdivision. That brought the total number of hazard markers to 47-47 within a half-mile stretch, a half-mile stretch of road in a residential subdivision where there's no new construction and the pipeline has been there for decades. You talk about ridiculous.

The regulation states:

Markers must be located at each public road crossing, at each railroad crossing, and in sufficient number along the remainder of each buried line so that its location is accurately known.

Now, though this particular regulation hasn't changed for many years, its interpretation clearly has. So, last month, my office sent a letter to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration for clarification, and in response they said:

While the regulations specify the minimum requirements for line markers, they do not specify a maximum number of line markers. A pipeline operator is allowed to exceed the minimum regulatory requirements.

Well, Mr. Chairman, they certainly have exceeded the minimum number of markers. Look at this front lawn here, five or six markers in the front lawn of a residential area. Now, clearly this is absurd. I'm certain there are other communities across this great country that are similarly affected by an overzealous regulator. This doesn't help a soul, but what it does is likely depress property values at a very challenging time for homeowners. So let's put some common sense back in government.

This amendment that I have offered today is designed to stop the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration from broadly interpreting these regulations in the future by ensuring that no funds from the bill shall be used to require the placement of line markers other than at public road crossings and railroad crossings.

Now, we have struggled to find the right avenue to address this issue, and hopefully we will be able to get the attention of these wonderful folks and bring some sense to all of this. And though not possible to have this amendment brought to conclusion on this legislation, I do know that the chairman is as interested as I am in ending the overbearing regulatory scheme that seems to have overtaken every single department in this town.

If the chairman would be desirous, I would be happy to yield to him for a comment.


Mr. PRICE of Georgia. I thank the chairman, and I appreciate that.

Again, this is simply ridiculous. If that's your front lawn, Mr. Chairman, that's the last place that you want to see those signs in your neighborhood and in your residential area.

So I appreciate the opportunity to bring this amendment. I ask unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment.


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