Bipartisan Group Acts to Hire More Pipeline Inspectors
Late last week, a group of bipartisan Members led by members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Gene Green (D-TX) and Pete Olson introduced H.R. 3823. This legislation would provide direct hire authority to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) with an emphasis on creating opportunities for women, veterans, and minorities. Shifting hire authority from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) directly to PHMSA would streamline and expedite the hiring process for pipeline inspectors. The bills original cosponsors are Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), Vice Chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, and Reps. Janice Hahn (D-CA) and Brian Babin (R-TX).
Green said, â€œPipelines are the safest, quickest, and most efficient way to transport oil. Unfortunately, when pipeline accidents do occur, they can have harmful effects on the environment and surrounding communities. Updating our infrastructure is only one part of making pipelines safer. We need to hire and invest in pipeline inspectors. This bill will expedite that process while creating opportunities for underrepresented groups.â€
Olson said, â€œPipeline safety is critical and relies upon an adequate supply of inspectors to accomplish inspections in a timely manner to both protect surrounding areas and ensure timely delivery of needed energy. This bipartisan bill expedites the process to hire more inspectors to improve the safety and delivery of vital resources flowing through Americaâ€™s pipelines. Iâ€™m pleased that we have bipartisan support for this needed legislation.â€
â€œAs a strong supporter of our nationâ€™s energy pipeline system, I am pleased to co-author this legislation to further facilitate and invest in the hiring of pipeline safety inspectors,â€ said Babin. â€œThe United States has the largest network of energy pipelines in the nation and it is critical that we continue to make pipeline safety a priority. This bill will help ensure our pipeline network remains the safest and most cost-effective way to transport large volumes of energy products across the United States.â€
Hahn added, â€œI have long called for PHMSA to be more active on pipeline inspections, but in order to do that they need more inspectors on the job. Quite simply, more inspectors will mean safer pipelines and safer communities. This legislation is a step toward preventing pipeline ruptures like those we have seen recently in my community in Wilmington as well as in Santa Barbara.â€
Rep. Olson Media Contact: Melissa Kelly