By Valerie Yurk, CQ Roll Call (June 6, 2023)
“Erin Sutherland, policy counsel at nonprofit Pipeline Safety Trust, said her group is advocating for Congress to eliminate the non-application clause in PHMSA’s statutory authority, which bars the agency from mandating that owners retrofit existing pipelines to adhere to new safety standards. Also, the group is hoping to change safety statutes that don’t expressly prohibit the release of gas or hazardous liquids from a pipeline.
“So even if a major failure occurs — like for example, in 2013 — there was a big failure in Arkansas that caused 134,000 gallons of oil to spill into a neighborhood and ruin homes and yards and ruin a wetland,” she said. “That’s not technically a violation of any standard.”
Sutherland added that Democrats such as Cantwell, Larsen and New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. have been supportive of pipeline safety advocates’ provisions in the past. Cantwell and Graves have yet to announce any specific priorities or timelines for the legislation.”