The Senate on Monday unanimously passed a bill to reauthorize the federal pipeline safety oversight board, sending the measure to President Obama for his signature.
The bill extends the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). It also makes a handful of changes to PHMSA safety policies, including an effort to provide more insight into the regulatory process and give the Department of Transportation more power in the event of pipeline emergencies.
It also directs the PHMSA to finalize regulations Congress directed it to write in its 2011 reauthorization measure.
The bill was a bipartisan product in both the Senate and the House, which passed it unanimously last week.
Senate sponsors included Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerAustin, Milley to testify on Afghanistan withdrawal After messy Afghanistan withdrawal, questions remain House Democrats press leaders to include more funding for electric vehicles in spending plan MORE (R-Neb.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), among others. In a statement, they and other members hailed the bill as an important step toward improving the safety of the federal pipeline network.
“It will also provide greater resources for state and local pipeline safety officials,” Fischer said.
“The PIPES Act is a major bipartisan achievement, and I appreciate the hard work of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move it toward the finish line.”
Booker added: “America’s pipeline infrastructure is an important part of our national energy network. The bipartisan PIPES Act will implement important oversight and accountability measures, encourage the use of new technology, and help ensure pipeline safety in communities in New Jersey and around the country.”
The bill had industry support as well, with the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America saying it “meets several key goals” of the group, which represents the natural gas pipeline industry.