Upton Calls for Improved Pipeline Safety to Protect the Public, Meet Nation’s Growing Energy Needs
Upton’s Committee set to shepherd reauthorization of comprehensive safety legislation this summer
Jun 16, 2011 -
Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, participated in this morning’s Energy and Power Subcommittee hearing on pipeline safety. Upton is committed to moving meaningful, bipartisan legislation this summer to update and improve U.S. pipeline safety.
“Pipeline safety is a serious matter of protecting human life and our environment,” said Upton. “Our nation’s nearly half a million miles of pipeline infrastructure play a critical role in delivering vital energy supplies to southwest Michigan and the rest of the country. Disasters like last summer’s Enbridge pipeline rupture underscore the unacceptable costs of failure and the need for meaningful updates to our current pipeline safety laws.”
The July 25, 2010, oil pipeline rupture in Marshall, Michigan, a city east of Upton’s congressional district, resulted in the spill of 20,000 barrels of oil into the Talmadge Creek, a tributary of the Kalamazoo River. Upon receiving notification of the spill, Upton worked aggressively with local officials and state and federal agencies to mitigate the incident’s impact on public health, property, and the environment.
Pipeline safety and integrity are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). PHMSA regulations set standards on the construction, operation, and spill response for the nation’s pipelines, and inspection and enforcement activities rely upon partnerships with state agencies.
Congress last addressed comprehensive pipeline safety legislation with the Pipeline Inspection, Protection, Enforcement, and Safety (PIPES) Act of 2006, which contained authorization levels that expired in December 2010. However, as PHMSA is funded by industry user fees, safety and inspection programs remain active.