Dear Chairman Thune and Chairman Fischer,
On behalf of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), I want to express our support for the SAFE PIPES Act (S. 2276), and specifically the manager’s amendment to the bill that will be offered during the Committee markup on December 9. INGAA represents the interstate natural gas transmission pipeline industry. The pipeline systems operated by our member companies are analogous to the interstate highway system, transporting natural gas across state and regional boundaries. Our core mission is the safe and reliable transportation of natural gas. S. 2276 helps to further the continuous improvement of pipeline safety programs across the country.
While there are a number of provisions in S. 2276, INGAA would like to highlight three, all of which we support:
1. The bill reauthorizes federal pipeline safety programs for four years, at funding levels that are sustainable.
2. The bill requires that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) place primary focus on completing the legislative mandates from the 2011 reauthorization – a fundamental concern for INGAA’s membership.
3. The bill includes new national safety standards and oversight for underground natural gas storage facilities, using existing consensus standards as a basis for regulation, and allowing PHMSA to collect specific user fees to fund this new regulatory program.
We thank you and your staff for working with INGAA and the numerous stakeholders to bring a pipeline safety reauthorization bill before your Committee this year.