U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines’ bill to help ensure the safety of America’s pipeline network unanimously passed the U.S. Senate this evening.
The bill, known as S.2276, the PIPES Act, would reauthorize the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) through fiscal year (FY) 2019. The final agreement now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law.
“A safe, secure and efficient pipeline infrastructure is critical for energy security, creating and maintaining jobs and providing safeguards to protect the environment,” Daines stated. “It’s great news to see the passage of important bipartisan legislation that protects our economic and environmental resources.”
The PIPES Act would reauthorize PHMSA from FY 2016 through FY 2019.
Key provisions of the bill include:
- Re-prioritizing and requiring PHMSA to complete outstanding Congressional directives from the 2011 reauthorization bill.
- Requiring PHMSA to prioritize statutory requirements for rulemaking over new rulemaking.
- Ensuring coordination and collaboration on pipeline mapping, research, development, and technology between PHMSA, industry, and public stakeholders.
- Enabling PHMSA to hire much-needed pipeline inspectors and analysts with greater flexibility.
- Compelling PHMSA to respond to local operators regarding the preliminary results following a pipeline inspection with greater frequency.
- An assessment of PHMSA’s integrity management programs for liquid and natural gas pipelines, and additional reporting on advanced and upcoming corrosion technologies.
Daines introduced the initial version of the bill, known as the SAFE PIPES Act in November 2015. The final bill, approved in the Senate today, combines provisions from the SAFE PIPES Act with the bills from the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.