Rockefeller on Sissonville, WV Pipeline Explosion

December 11, 2012

JDR Head ShotWASHINGTON, DC – Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV today released the following statement following a major explosion and natural gas line fire in Sissonville, WV: 

“This was clearly a terrible and dangerous explosion, and first and foremost my thoughts are with those on the ground right now working to keep people out of harm’s way. As details continue to emerge, my focus as Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee – where I have made pipeline safety a top priority – is on what went wrong. I’m in close contact with state and federal officials, as well as the company involved. It’s important that the National Transportation Safety Board is launching a team imminently to conduct a thorough investigation into how and why this happened, and that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will soon have someone on the scene. I will continue monitoring today’s developments, with hope for everyone’s continued safety, as we await a determination of the cause of this accident.”


The Senate Commerce Committee has direct jurisdiction over pipeline safety. Last year, Senator Rockefeller cosponsored legislation, which was signed into law in January, that strengthened pipeline safety oversight by the federal government and addresses long-standing safety issues. The Commerce Committee has held three hearings in the past two-and-a-half years on pipeline safety, and Rockefeller highlighted pipeline safety as part of his field hearing in West Virginia last year on shale gas development. In addition, he requested a Government Accountability Office study on the safety of onshore gathering pipelines not subject to federal regulations.