The US Senate unanimously approved the amended federal pipeline safety bill PIPES Act of 2016 on Monday and sent it to the President’s desk for signature. The Senate made its vote just four days after the bill was approved in the House.
The Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act reauthorizes the federal pipeline safety program within PHMSA through fiscal 2019. Moreover, it ensures that PHMSA will carry out the rest of its safety directives given in the expired pipeline safety program of 2011.
According to the PIPES Act 2016 summary given by the Energy & Commerce and Transport & Infrastructure Committees, the bill “reforms PHMSA to be a more dynamic, data-driven regulator and provides regulatory certainty for citizens, the safety community, and the industry.”
President of American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers Chet Thompson warned that Congress should continue to “conduct vigilant oversight to ensure PHMSA’s new authorities are not abused” now that they will be given a wide-range emergency authority.
“In giving PHMSA wide-ranging emergency order authority that, if used improperly, has the potential for severe disruptions for businesses and consumers, Congress must now carefully monitor its actions to avoid agency overreach, which could inhibit the energy industry’s ability to provide affordable and abundant fuel in a safe and reliable manner,” he added.
Pipelines are one of the safest modes of transportation for energy commodities, resulting in successful transportation 99.999% of the time. They are the critical link to connect oil and gas resources to consumers around the world.