The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) through 2019, in addition to improving safety and oversight.
The bill increases standards for pipeline workers operating near or in the Great Lakes. It also mandates that pipeline companies prepare their equipment for harsh winter weather and create an emergency plan for spills in icy conditions.
"The legislation would include designating the Great Lakes a high consequence area, updating oil spill response plans to include ice cover and requiring reviews of pipeline age and integrity," says an official statement.
The pipeline legislation now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Senator Gary Peters of Michigan is sponsoring the legislation. "An oil spill in the Great Lakes would
be catastrophic — not only for Michigan's economy and environment but for the 40 million people that rely on the Great Lakes as their source of clean drinking water," said Peters in a statement.
He adds: "I'm pleased that the Senate passed this critical legislation with unanimous, bipartisan support, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to get this bill signed into law so that we can advance safety standards, improve ice cover response plans, and better protect against the devastating impacts an oil spill would have on our waterways and our way of life."
The legislation, entitled the Securing America
’s Future Energy: Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (SAFE PIPES) Act, includes several pipeline safety provisions from the Pipeline Improvement and Preventing Spills (PIPS) Act that Peters introduced in September, along with Senator Debbie Stabenow