Week ahead: House to examine pipeline safety

Lawmakers plan to take a comprehensive look at how federal pipeline safety regulators are implementing a 2011 overhaul of safety rules.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee complains that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has yet to implement many of the major reforms in the law.

The hearing comes two months after a major pipeline breach that spilled thousands of gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean and onto beaches in Santa Barbara County, Calif.

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“With our newfound energy abundance, it’s imperative we ensure that our energy is transported safely and efficiently,” Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Ed WhitfieldWayne (Ed) Edward WhitfieldBottom Line Why Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog What Azerbaijan wants from Israel? MORE (R-Ky.) said in a statement announcing the Tuesday hearing.

“PHMSA’s lack of progress in implementing the reforms required under our 2011 pipeline safety law raises serious questions about their ability to provide the oversight necessary to ensure safe operation of our nation’s pipelines,” they added.

Whitfield will chair the hearing of the panel’s energy and power subcommittee. PHMSA Interim Executive Director Stacy Cummings will testify, as will local, state and private industry representatives.

Later in the week, the full House is likely to vote on Rep. David Valadao’s (R-Calif.) bill aimed at helping the drought in the West by reworking how federal agencies direct water resources.

The bill has the support of all California Republicans in the House. The chamber could vote on it as early as Wednesday.

The House Natural Resources Committee’s energy and mineral resources subpanel has planned a pair of hearings on specific oil and natural gas production issues in federally controlled areas.

A Tuesday hearing will focus on the role of seismic testing in offshore drilling and exploration. The next day, the panel will examine hydraulic fracturing on federal land, including the Interior Department’s new fracking rules.

On the other side of Capitol Hill, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is hosting a hearing Tuesday on island-based energy systems, including those in Hawaii, Alaska and United States territories.

The Senate Small Business Committee will hold a Tuesday hearing on the “challenges and opportunities” facing businesses involved in energy development and energy-intensive manufacturing.

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeHow fast population growth made Arizona a swing state Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Republican former Michigan governor says he's voting for Biden MORE (R-Ariz.), that panel’s chairman, will speak the day before the hearing at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event on wildlife poaching in Africa. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) will join him, as will Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe and others.

 

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