As the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas, the United States has assembled a robust pipeline network to move product to market. It follows that ensuring their safety is a priority.

Thanks to Congressional action, Pennsylvanians can expect increased pipeline safety. The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) already has deemed pipelines the safest medium of energy transport, confirmed by the Fraser Institute, but Congress has continued to build out its pipeline safety systems.

Lumped into the billion dollar omnibus coronavirus bill last year was the overlooked House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure’s “Pipes Act of 2020.” Its stated objective “reauthorizes the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) pipeline safety program through fiscal 2023 and ensures that the millions of miles of pipelines in the U.S. are safe, reliable, and environmentally sound.”

Many of the new features included are worth specific attention.

A portion of the bill builds on the nation’s pipeline inspectors by increasing the number of minimum inspections and enforcement personnel that conduct inspections, investigations, and other safety activity almost 20%. All should welcome more oversight and inspections.

Other provisions in the bill aim to improve gas distribution and gathering line safety. Title II specifically addresses improving the distribution of integrity management plans, and mandates that emergency response plans communicate more thoroughly with local authorities. Similarly, the bill directs PHMSA to better map and publish guidance on gas gathering lines.

Lastly, whistleblower protections were extended to cover former employees while prohibiting employers from waiving whistleblower protections.

These protections build on the already strong foundation of safety measures that has allowed the U.S. great success in becoming energy secure while reliably delivering product across the country.

While Pennsylvania has benefited greatly from the thousands of jobs and billions in tax revenue that the oil and gas industry has created, the commonwealth remains way behind in the development of necessary pipeline infrastructure. Yet projects like PennEast, Adelphia Gateway and Mariner East continue to face regulatory delays and challenges that prevent prosperity.

In America, safety measures are strong and resources are plentiful. The United States and commonwealth of Pennsylvania continue to position themselves to be energy powerhouses for decades to come, with safety at the forefront.

Trending Food Videos