Senate Advances Bipartisan Pipeline Safety Bill to the President’s Desk

June 13, 2016

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate, Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, issued the following statement on the Senate’s passage of bipartisan legislation to ensure the safety of America’s pipelines.

“Americans rely on energy transported through our nation’s pipeline network - and its safety and certainty,” said Thune. “The PIPES Act reforms pipeline safety and will help answer the need for more reliable access to energy. I appreciate the leadership of Senators Fischer, Booker, Daines, and Peters who introduced this legislation in the Senate that’s now headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law.”

The Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016 reauthorizes the federal pipeline safety program in the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) through fiscal year 2019.

The Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security chair, Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and ranking member, Cory Booker (D-N.J.), introduced legislation in the Senate alongside Committee Members Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) on November 10, 2015. The Senate Commerce Committee approved their bill on December 9, 2015. The bipartisan and bicameral PIPES Act now heads to the President’s desk for his signature.

Key provisions of the bill include:

  • Re-prioritizing and requiring PHMSA  to complete outstanding mandates from the 2011 reauthorization bill.
  • Requesting that GAO conduct an assessment of inspections process and Integrity Management programs for natural gas and liquid pipelines.
  • Encouraging PHMSA to investigate and report on advanced mapping technologies for pipeline networks.
  • Calling for minimum standards to ensure the safety of natural gas storage facilities.
  • Providing Emergency Order authority to PHMSA so they can correct pipeline problems that are an imminent hazard.