Carbajal Welcomes Progress on Delayed Pipeline Safety Rulemaking
Washington, May 1, 2019
Today, Congressman Salud Carbajal released the following statement after Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Administrator Howard R. “Skip” Elliott testified that the agency plans to enact rules to ensure oil and gas pipeline safety, including automatic shutoff valves, by the end of this year:
“I am encouraged by Administrator Elliot’s testimony today, but we need to see action from the agency to protect our communities from the hazards of oil and gas pipelines,” said Carbajal. “We experienced the impacts of these delayed safety measures first-hand when it took over two hours to detect the source of Plains All American oil spill. In that short time, thousands of gallons of crude oil coated Refugio Beach and flowed into the Pacific Ocean. Any further delay is unacceptable, and I will continue to closely track these rules until they are finalized.”
The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Inspector General found that as of October 2016, PHMSA has failed to implement 20 of 81 directives required by law, including eight pipeline safety rulemaking mandates in the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 (P.L 112-90).
In April, Carbajal pressed PHMSA Administrator Elliot during a Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee hearing to explain the eight-year delay in implementing these pipeline safety rules.
Last year, Carbajal and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) requested that PHMSA provide an explanation as to why the agency has failed to enact several long overdue gas and hazardous liquid pipeline safety improvements.
In May of 2015, Plains All American Line 901’s failure resulted in more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil spilled along the Gaviota Coast in California. PHMSA is charged with overseeing over 2.6 million miles of pipelines transporting natural gas, oil and hazardous liquid across the United States.