Committee Statements

Upton Hails Bipartisan, Bicameral Agreement on Pipeline Safety Legislation

Passing comprehensive pipeline safety legislation has been one of Upton’s top priorities as Energy and Commerce Chair

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Washington, Dec 8, 2011 | Meghan Kolassa ((202) 225-3761) | comments

Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today announced that a bipartisan and bicameral agreement has been reached on pipeline safety legislation.  As Chairman, Upton has remained committed to ensuring vital updates and improvements are made in U.S. pipeline safety.  Along with his Michigan colleague and former Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Dingell (D-Dearborn), Upton is the author of the Pipeline Infrastructure and Community Protection Act (H.R. 2937), which passed the Energy and Commerce Committee by a vote of 52 to 0 earlier this fall.  Additional pipeline safety bills have advanced in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the U.S. Senate, and the involved lawmakers have now produced a merged bill for final approval in both chambers.  House leadership today unveiled compromise legislation that will be slated for a vote on the House floor, perhaps as soon as next week.

“Ensuring the integrity of our nation’s vast pipeline infrastructure is a matter than transcends party lines and partisan politics,” said Upton.  “As Michiganders, pipeline safety is an issue that hits especially close to home.  While our nation’s 2.5 million miles of pipeline infrastructure remain the safest and most effective mode of transporting essential energy resources throughout the United States, last summer’s tragic pipeline rupture into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River underscored the unacceptable costs of catastrophe.  As energy demand and production continue to climb, so grows the importance of ensuring the safe transportation of these resources.

“I have worked hard with my colleagues in the Energy and Commerce Committee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the Senate to provide strong pipeline safety legislation that will safeguard our communities. This bill does much to hold those responsible for pipeline accidents accountable, but we recognize that the top priority is to prevent any pipeline failure before it occurs, which is why the bill takes measurable steps to strengthen safety standards.”

The July 25, 2010, Enbridge 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.

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