US House Panel Approves Pipeline Bills After California Oil Spill

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Legislation designed to improve the safety of offshore pipelines was recently approved by a US House of Representatives committee.

The panel’s decision was in response to recent pipeline accidents and leaks, mostly in Southern California, for which Republican lawmakers are critical of the policies of the Biden administration.

The House natural resources committee this month proposed legislation that would require oil and gas operators to alert regulators of equipment failures in critical systems. Notification should be provided within 30 days. The bill, the Offshore Accountability Act, aims to update industry reporting standards to increase transparency of critical pipeline systems, according to its sponsor, Representative A. Donald McEachin (D-Va .).

McEachin

“The passage of the Offshore Accountability Act is an important step towards greater transparency and accountability in the offshore oil and gas industry,” said McEachin. “As we have seen in past tragedies, such as the Santa Barbara and Deepwater Horizon oil spill, offshore drilling accidents can be dangerous, costly and life-altering for coastal communities and critical ecosystems. All Americans, especially those in coastal communities, deserve transparency from the industries operating in our oceans. “

In related news, the committee advanced the Offshore Pipeline Safety Act, sponsored by Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), Which would require additional inspections of oil and gas pipeline owners. The bill would specifically require third party inspections every two years. The measure would also require modernization of leak detection systems and impose certain annual fees on oil and gas pipeline operators.

Julia brownley

Brownley

The measure is based on a report from the Government Accountability Office, which recommended that regulators “take steps to develop, finalize and implement updated pipeline regulations to address long-standing limitations on its ability to ensure the active pipeline integrity and to manage the safety and environmental risks associated with pipelines. decommissioning.

Senior Republican politicians, meanwhile, pointed to the policies and proposals of the White House Biden and the main Democrats for recent pipeline events such as the California oil spill. These senior Republicans also blame the political directives of Democratic leaders for the crises in the country’s supply chain.

“As Democrats scramble to blame their favorite scapegoat, ‘big oil’, for the California oil spill, the facts tell a very different story. The massive and unprecedented cargo ship bottleneck in the port is a direct threat to critical undersea infrastructure along the California coast. When ships are forced to anchor in overcrowded waters, disasters are inevitable, ”said the House Natural Resources Committee, ranking Republican Bruce Westerman of Arkansas.

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He continued: “No amount of regulations will solve the president’s crisis. [Joe] Biden’s own making.

“The policies of the president and his party leaders in Congress exacerbate or ignore underlying supply chain problems, due to their mismanagement of COVID[-19] response in a way that prolongs unemployment and worker shortages throughout the economy, to their pressure for a multibillion-dollar spending spree that is pushing up the prices of everything from gasoline to the grocery store, ”added Rep Sam Graves (R-Mo.), ranking member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Earlier this month, agencies monitoring the waters off the coast of Southern California confirmed that there had been a ruptured pipeline that spilled crude oil into the ocean. The spill took place as a massive backup of ships awaited access to ports.

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