Bill to Authorize PHMSA Pipeline Safety Program Clears Senate

August 7, 2020

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, along with Deb Fischer, R-Neb., and Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., chairman and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety, today released the following statements upon the unanimous Senate passage of  S. 2299, the Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2019. The legislation would reauthorize the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) pipeline safety program for four years and provide important advances in new safety technology and regulatory reform.

“Improving the safe and reliable transportation of energy is essential to keeping our businesses and homes running,” said Wicker. “The PIPES Act would provide the necessary resources to ensure the safety of our pipeline system. It would also allow PHMSA to conduct pilot programs to evaluate and carry out innovative pipeline safety programs and technologies. I thank my colleagues Senators Fischer and Duckworth for their work on this bipartisan legislation, and I look forward to seeing it pass the House.”

“I am pleased that our bipartisan legislation reauthorizing PHMSA to advance pipeline safety passed the Senate. It will ensure that PHMSA has the necessary resources and Congressional direction it needs to do its job,” said Fischer. 

“Pipelines carry much of the energy that powers our nation, and helping ensure the safe transportation of that energy is critical for homeowners and businesses across Illinois and our nation,” said Duckworth. “I am thankful for Senator Fischer’s partnership throughout this process and am glad to see the Senate pass this important bipartisan legislation that reauthorizes PHMSA’s pipeline safety programs and invests in emerging technologies that will make the operation of pipelines even safer and more efficient.”

The PIPES Act of 2019 would:

  • Provide a four-year authorization of PHMSA’s pipeline safety program with greater resources allocated to state and local pipeline safety officials.
  • Allow PHMSA to conduct pilot programs to evaluate innovative pipeline safety technologies to enhance pipeline safety.
  • Provide greater Congressional oversight on pending PHMSA rulemakings.
  • Direct PHMSA to update its current regulations for large-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities.
  • Establish LNG Center of Excellence to promote and facilitate safety, education, training, and technological advancements for LNG operations.

Click here to read the bill.