Senate Commerce Committee Holds PHMSA Reauthorization Hearing

By Erin Kurilla posted 14 days ago

This week, the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety convened a hearing titled “Pipeline Safety: Federal Oversight and Stakeholder Perspectives.” This hearing “examined federal pipeline safety and federal oversight as the Commerce Committee considers reauthorization of the PHMSA’s pipeline safety program.”

There was only one panel, which consisted of: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Administrator Skip Elliott; National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt; Interstate Natural Gas Association of America representative Paul Amato, who is the Vice President of Engineering, Operations, Environmental, Health, and Safety at Iroquois Pipeline Operating Company; and, American Petroleum Institute Vice President of Midstream and Industry Operations Robin Rorick.
The relatively short hearing focused on two major themes: PHMSA’s need to address outstanding congressional mandates from the 2011 and 2016 PIPES Acts; and, asking witnesses their positions on proposals linked to the tragedy in Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts.

APGA submitted comments for the hearing. In the comments, APGA communicated that new mandates should be evaluated in concert with existing requirements that are already in place and that while some new requirements may appear to be beneficial on their own, they may prove to be redundant or their benefits are minimal when considered with existing rules and regulations.

APGA continues to be involved in the legislative process and is collaborating with stakeholders during each phase. The road to completion on this legislation is long and bipartisan. APGA has confidence that the elements of the final bill will enhance pipeline safety in a reasonable and practical manner. PHMSA reauthorization must occur by the end of the current fiscal year or else funding will lapse for the agency.

A recording of the hearing can be found at

For questions on this article, please contact Erin Kurilla of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at