Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: Lawmakers slam pipeline regulators

IN THE HOT SEAT: The Obama administration’s pipeline regulators were slammed Tuesday over what lawmakers characterized as extreme delays in implementing a 2011 pipeline safety law.

The hearing came two months after an oil pipeline owned by Plains All American ruptured in Santa Barbara County, Calif., sending oil onto beaches and into the Pacific Ocean.

Another pipeline owned by the same company leaked in Illinois Tuesday.

{mosads}Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said at the hearing that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) dropped the ball, and rules from the 2011 pipeline law could have mitigated the California spill.

“Some of these provisions, I am convinced, would have made a difference in the recent oil spill in Santa Barbara, had they been implemented by PHMSA in a timely manner,” Upton said.

Upton was joined by lawmakers of both parties in criticizing PHMSA. But some Democrats also said regulators needed more resources.

“I recognize progress that has been made in recent years, but we still have a long way to go,” said Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.). “While PHMSA has certainly dragged its feet in implementing key reforms, Congress has also failed to provide the agency with the resources it needs to meet the growing demand.”

Read more here.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY I: The House Natural Resources Committee’s energy and mineral resources subcommittee will hold a hearing on hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. Bureau of Land Management Director Neil Kornze will testify. 

ON TAP WEDNESDAY II: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hear from Kristen Kulinowski, a nominee for the Chemical Safety Board. 

Rest of Wednesday’s Agenda … 

Supporters of the Renewable Fuel Standard will hold a rally in Upper Senate Park. Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) are scheduled to speak. 


A dip in oil production in the North Dakota oil fields has relieved congestion on midwestern railways, the Associated Press reports

Pennsylvania’s GOP Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman said he won’t rule out allowing a tax on natural gas drilling as part of a budget deal, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

After Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott extended his ban on renewable energy spending to solar power, the country’s solar industry pledged to wage a campaign to “remove this government from office,” The Guardian reports


Check out Tuesday’s stories … 

-Oil producers call for lifting export ban after Iran deal
-Sanders challenges Clinton on Keystone
-GOP senators pitch energy production to intelligence chief
-GOP chairman: Feds dropped the ball in Calif. oil spill
-GOP subpoenas Obama regulatory officials on water rule
-Power plant emissions decline ahead of new climate rules
-Oil prices plunge after Iran announcement

Please send tips and comments to Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com; and Devin Henry, dhenry@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Timothy_Cama@dhenry@thehill  


Tags Fred Upton Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration pipelines

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