Earlier today, the House Energy Subcommittee held a hearing regarding the reauthorization of the Pipeline Safety Act. The Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 was the first federal statute regulating pipeline safety, and has been added to and amended over the past fifty years. Today’s hearing included witness testimony from regulatory officials and industry representatives familiar with ongoing progress and challenges.
Our nation’s extensive energy infrastructure network is essential in meeting consumer energy needs – from heating our homes to fueling our vehicles. Federal regulators play an important role in the rigorous, multi-year permitting process. Over the past five years, data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) shows pipelines are getting safer. Operators have reduced the number of liquids pipeline incidents impacting people or the environment by 20%, and pipeline incidents caused by incorrect operation impacting people or the environment are down 38%.
“Pipelines are the safest method to deliver the energy American consumers depend on every day,” said GAIN strategic adviser and former PHMSA Administrator Brigham McCown. “Almost two-thirds of the energy we use on a daily basis is delivered by pipeline. Building state-of-art energy highways that safely and efficiently move energy to where they are needed is key to economic and environmental progress. Our federal regulators play a key role in establishing policy and setting industry standards for the infrastructure that fuels our nation.”
“The Pipeline Safety Act provides a fundamental road map to responsible infrastructure development,” said former Congressman Albert R. Wynn, a strategic adviser to GAIN. “While pipeline safety has advanced significantly in recent years with new technologies and enhanced security mechanisms, it is paramount that we evaluate policy that dictates such a critical sector. Federal agencies play an important role in modern pipeline development, but a straightforward permitting process and regulatory certainty is key to future investment.”
“The GAIN Coalition applauds the House Energy Subcommittee for holding today’s hearing to discuss the importance of pipeline safety,” said coalition spokesman Craig Stevens. “With the US in the midst of an oil and gas boom, facilitating the safe development of our energy network is crucial. The federal government can encourage private investment in energy infrastructure by streamlining the regulatory process and providing companies with certainty that the government means what it says when it comes to permitting. We look forward to the continued investment in our nation’s critical energy infrastructure.”
Grow America’s Infrastructure Now (GAIN) is a national coalition consisting of businesses, trade associations, and labor groups that seeks to promote key infrastructure investments that ensure a stronger, more secure, and prosperous country. Follow the Coalition on Twitter @GAINNowAmerica.