Senator Steve Daines said holding the hearing in Montana is important because issues and concerns can directly get to the pipeline administration.
He said one of the concerns he heard today is that it’s taking a year, from the time the inspection of the pipeline is completed until when it’s given to the operators, to make corrective actions. Daines said this delay is completely unacceptable and has to change.
“The most important thing is to get the voice of Montana, Montana’s viewpoint here, into the records, and I think we’ve accomplished that here today,” said Daines.
Senator Daines continues to say one of the challenges in Washington D.C. is that we don’t have a strong enough voice from rural America. So he said what’s helpful is that they capture the important information today and take it back to a senate committee to make sure lawmakers draft better policy for Montana.
Senator Daines said this hearing is a better format because it gives the panel a chance to have more back and forth conversation, where they can really clarify the facts.
Marie Dominguez, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Administrator, and one of four panel speakers today, said PHMSA’s mission is the safety of pipeline oil transportation. She said she thinks the hearing provides a great scale perspective, getting a chance to hear from all stakeholders.
Dominguez said, “It was really great to hear from the other witnesses as well to understand what the citizens of Montana are concerned about. The value, not only from an environmental perspective and the beauty and the pristine nature of the Yellowstone River, but also understand what their concerns are with regard to the economy and the benefit of the industry as a whole.”
Dominguez continues to say when she arrived yesterday, she had the chance to be on site where the pipeline failed, in Laurel. She said you can see the work that’s been done on the bank of the Yellowstone River, but also the extent of the damage from the river flooding.