Rush Opening Statement at Full Committee Markup of the Safer Pipelines Act and Other Bills

Nov 19, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), Chairman of the Energy Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, delivered the following opening remarks at the full committee markup of the Safer Pipelines Act and other bills.

Rep. Rush's Opening Statement as Prepared for Delivery:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Today’s markup presents an opportunity to reaffirm our Committee’s role in fortifying public health, safety, and the environment.  I am proud of the Energy Subcommittee’s contribution to achieving these objectives and, specifically, how the SAFER Pipeline Act of 2019 advances that mission.

The U.S. has the largest network of energy pipelines in the world that crisscross many of our districts, including mine.  These systems transport natural gas and hazardous liquids throughout the country and account for one-third of all U.S. methane emissions, a known contributor to climate change.  With these factors in mind, it is essential that the safety of our pipelines matches the span of their reach.

Since the early 2000s, hundreds of incidents have been submitted to PHMSA , resulting in a billion-dollar cost to the public, serious environmental damages, and hundreds of unfortunate injuries and fatalities.  Recent pipeline incidents in North Dakota and Massachusetts are crucial reminders of why we need enhanced safety measures for these systems.

While I remain firmly committed to establishing a clean energy economy future, immediate safety within our nation’s current energy infrastructure is of vital importance.  The reauthorization bill we are discussing, today, takes this into consideration by requiring leak-detection technologies, improving penalties for reckless operations, preserving Obama-era restrictions on methane emissions, mandating immediate repairs, and other common-sense provisions.

I thank the Chairman and staff for their commitment to this legislation and urge my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to support it.

I yield back.