Press Releases

Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Pipeline Safety Legislation

Washington, August 21, 2020

(Washington, DC) – Today, Representatives Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Bob Latta (OH-05), and Troy Balderson (OH-12) introduced the Pipeline Safety Pilot Program Act.  The bill establishes a pilot program for pipeline safety enhancement at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).  This will allow testing of cutting-edge pipeline safety technologies in everyday applications.

“There are nearly 2.5 million miles of existing pipeline in this country – Texas is home to many of them.  It is vital that we modernize outdated regulations to help improve pipeline safety across the board,” said Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher.  “Last year, I worked on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to implement a technology pilot program in the PHMSA reauthorization bill. I am glad to work with Congressmen Marc Veasey, Bob Latta, and Troy Balderson to introduce my amendment as a bill and ensure these important changes can be implemented.”

“Safely transporting liquids and gases though this country’s more than 2.5 Million miles of pipelines is a top priority,” Congressman Marc Veasey said. “As technologies advance, PHMSA needs the ability to test these technologies under real world conditions. Pipeline operators use a variety of tools to detect and identify anomalies in segments of pipe that can be replaced before they pose a danger. Ensuring they have the data to prove these safety technologies are effective is critical.”

“As we build pipelines to provide energy across the United States, nothing is more important than ensuring the health and safety of our communities and our environment,” Congressman Latta said. “Every year, the private sector makes technological advances that would allow for safer and more efficient energy delivery, but a lack of flexibility in regulations prevent these measures from being implemented within pipeline safety programs. The Pipeline Safety Pilot Program Act will bring together all voices with a stake in pipelines, both public and private, to advance innovation without sacrificing safety.”

“PHMSA’s core pipeline inspection and maintenance regulations are severely outdated. Each day, pipeline workers are put in harm’s way because the regulations overseeing pipeline technologies—the very regulations that are supposed to keep these workers safe—haven’t kept pace with technological advancements. As technologies develop, so should the regulations that oversee them. This pilot program will evaluate the innovative technologies and the operational practices that test for the safe operation of natural gas pipeline facilities and hazardous liquid pipeline facilities. I’m proud to introduce the Pipeline Safety Pilot Program Act with my colleagues, Representatives Veasey, Latta, and Fletcher,” said Congressman Troy Balderson.

Last year, Congresswoman Fletcher introduced a bipartisan amendment to establish a pipeline safety pilot program in the PHMSA reauthorization bill considered by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  The Pipeline Safety Pilot Program Act takes Fletcher’s amendment as a standalone bill to ensure the technology necessary to maintain pipelines operating safely can be included in any final legislative package to reauthorize PHMSA.

The Pipeline Safety Pilot Program Act is supported by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL):

“Pipelines are the safest and most environmentally friendly way to transport the energy that American families and businesses rely on every day, and we’re pleased this bipartisan group of representatives understands the importance of advanced technology in pipeline safety. This pilot program will allow the natural gas and oil industry to test new in-line inspection tools and leak detection innovations. It will also enable data sharing with the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to demonstrate the effectiveness of new technologies in the absence of updated integrity management regulations. These advances are key to the operation of modern pipelines and keeping surrounding communities and the environment safe, and we look forward to further Congressional action on this program,” said Robin Rorick, Vice President of Midstream & Industry Operations at the American Petroleum Institute (API).

“Demonstrating new safety technologies is something we can all rally around and we thank Reps. Veasey, Fletcher, Latta and Balderson for their bipartisan leadership applying it to pipeline safety,” said Andy Black, President and CEO of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL).