PIPES Act passes the House: Goes to President for Signature

Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act (S. 2276 ) passed in the House today by unanimous vote. The act was cited as an exceptional example of bipartisan cooperation and compromise.  Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. characterized it as a “…good proposal that moves the ball forward on safety.”

Read the fact sheet from the House Energy and Commerce Committee here.

The House amendment incorporates text from two bills approved in committee in April: H.R. 5050, the Pipeline Safety Act of 2016, which passed the Energy and Commerce Committee, and H.R. 4937, the PIPES Act of 2016, which passed the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. It also contains many provisions from HR 4429 Natural Gas Leak Prevention Act of 2016.

This act reauthorizes the PHMSA pipeline safety program for four years and requires the agency to update safety regulations, report to Congress on outstanding mandates every 90 days, and provides for research and adoption of emerging technologies in areas like corrosion control and data sharing.

It gives PHMSA the power to issue emergency orders in crisis situations, like other DOT agencies, and includes special provisions for pipelines in unusually sensitive areas (USA’s) near or under water. Candice Miller (R-MI) commented favorably on the inclusion of the Great Lakes as a USA.

Personnel issues are addressed by a section on workforce management that gives the PHMSA direct hire authority, and an increase in state pipeline safety grants for training of local officials.

The act directs that standards for underground natural gas storage facilities must be issued in two years and establishes the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Leak Task Force.

Addressing the House, all with positive comments were: Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Railroads, Pipelines, Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Ranking Member Michael Capuano (D-MA), Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), Energy and Power Subcommittee Ranking Member Bobby Rush (D-IL), Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-CA), and Candice Miller (R-MI).

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This breaking news is brought to you by ViaData LP, authors of WinDOT The Pipeline Safety Encyclopedia.

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