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Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. Mr. Chairman, on March 29, 2013, the ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline in Mayflower, Arkansas, spilled thousands of gallons of oil into the homes and onto the properties surrounding the ruptured pipelines. I am committed to making things right for the people of Mayflower by ensuring that another spill like this doesn't occur again in Arkansas.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, PHMSA, is responsible for regulating and ensuring the safe and secure movement of oil and petroleum products to industry and consumers through our Nation's interstate pipelines. As an interstate pipeline, the inspection of the Pegasus pipeline was PHMSA's responsibility.

Pipelines move nearly two-thirds of the oil and petroleum products transported annually. Interstate pipelines deliver over 11.3 billion barrels of petroleum each year. The cost to transport a barrel of petroleum products from Houston to the New York Harbor is about a dollar. American pipelines are indisputably the safest way to move oil, and I remain supportive of the pipeline infrastructure as it will provide important jobs and energy to Americans, but we've got to make sure these pipelines are safe. Every year, pipelines transport more than 11 billion barrels of oil, and last year, less than five ten-thousandths of 1 percent of it was lost to spills.

We've got to do what we can to make sure spills that did occur don't happen again. Although the number of spills is a minimal fraction of what we safely transport throughout the country, I know that we can still make more certain the safety of our Nation's pipelines. I continue to support the safe transport of our Nation's oil and petroleum products, and I have introduced my amendment to increase the budget for PHMSA's operational expenses by $500,000 to further ensure the safety of our Nation's pipelines.

This appropriation finances the operational support costs for PHMSA, including agency-wide functions of administration, management, policy development, legal counsel, budget, financial management, civil rights, human resources, acquisition services, information technology, and governmental and public affairs.

I ask that the House support this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.


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