U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today applauded unanimous passage in the Senate of the Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act to improve pipeline safety and oversight.
Peters introduced the Senate version of the bipartisan legislation with Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Steve Daines (R-MT). The legislation unanimously passed the House of Representatives last week and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
“The Great Lakes play a central role in our state’s economy, environment, and way of life,” said Senator Peters, member of the Great Lakes Task Force. “We must ensure that the proper safety and oversight is in place to keep our people safe and our natural resources protected. I’m very pleased that this bill is on its way to the President’s desk to be signed into law and help safeguard against the catastrophic consequences of an oil spill in our precious waterways.”
The PIPES Act includes several provisions and elements authored by Peters that will help ensure the Great Lakes and other water resources in Michigan and across the country are protected from the threat of pipeline spills:
The legislation, which was approved by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in December, reauthorizes PHMSA through 2019 and increases the authorized funding levels by 2% annually to support critical safety and oversight activities. The bill also establishes emergency order authority so that PHMSA can take action to ensure safety when pipelines pose an imminent threat.
The legislation includes additional measures to improve the storage of hazardous materials, including directing the Department of Transportation to issue minimum safety standards for the operation and integrity management of underground natural gas storage facilities and a provision to promote mapping technology to help prevent accidental pipeline damage during underground excavations.
It also includes a research and development section that encourages collaboration on research, development and technology between federal agencies, public stakeholders and industry leaders.
Senator Peters has been a strong supporter of enhancing pipeline safety to protect the Great Lakes.
This year, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Coast Guard Authorization Act, which contained a provision from Senator Peters that would require the Coast Guard to work with partner agencies including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to conduct an assessment on the effectiveness of oil spill response activities in the Great Lakes.