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E-M:/ Pipeline safety proposed legislation- Federal

Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org

Based on all the controversies about pipelines in Michigan, this may be of
interest to lots of Enviro-Michers --  AW

Subject:  Vice President Gore Announces Comprehensive Legislation to
      Improve Pipeline Safety
                              THE WHITE HOUSE
                       Office of the Vice President
Immediate Release                             Contact:
Tuesday, April 11, 2000                            (202) 456-7035
                             PIPELEINE SAFETY
      Bill Would Strengthen Enforcement and Community "Right to Know"
          WASHINGTON, DC--Vice President Gore today proposed comprehensive
     new legislation to improve the safety of oil and gas pipelines across 
     the country, and to strengthen citizens? right to know about pipelines 
     in their communities.
          The proposed legislation, the Pipeline Safety and Community
     Protection Act of 2000,  would reauthorize and strengthen the U.S. 
     Department of Transportation?s (DOT) pipeline safety program.  The 
     legislation would increase safety measures and inspections in heavily 
     populated and environmentally sensitive areas, increase penalties for 
     safety violations, and expand research to develop innovative pipeline 
     inspection tools.
          "Pipelines criss-cross our country, carrying the fuel that powers
     our homes, our cars, and our factories.  These pipelines are vital to 
     our economy, but without adequate safeguards, they can pose a serious 
     threat to our families, and to our environment," the Vice President 
     said. "Our proposed legislation will establish strong, comprehensive 
     pipeline safety measures, backed by rigorous enforcement, and the best 
     technology available.  It also guarantees every community?s right to 
     know where these pipelines are and how well they are maintained."
          The proposed legislation would require pipeline operators to
     establish comprehensive inspection and repair programs to prevent, and 
     reduce the impact of, pipeline failures.  Programs would have to be in 
     place within a year for highly populated areas and for places where a 
     pipeline failure would pose the greatest threat to drinking water 
     sources, wetlands, or other environmentally sensitive areas.
          The bill also gives federal and state regulators more authority
     to take action following a pipeline spill, and increases by as much as 
     four times the penalties for violations to help ensure that pipeline 
     companies perform necessary testing and repairs to pipeline damage.
     In addition, the bill allows for citizen suits to seek penalties for 
          Building on the Administration?s strong commitment to community
     "right to know" efforts, the bill would make it easier for residents, 
     businesses and government officials to get information about pipelines 
     in their communities.  It mandates public access to information about 
     the location and safety of pipelines, and requires that pipeline maps 
     be made available to state and local emergency response authorities.
          To help detect problems before pipelines fail, the bill provides
     for additional research to improve and develop innovative pipeline 
     inspection tools such as "smart pigs," camera-like devices that move 
     along inside a pipeline and allow operators to detect damage. Better 
     monitoring tools could speed up detection of damage to pipelines, such 
     as tears, cracks and corrosion.
          The bill also would strengthen the role of states in ensuring
     pipeline safety, increasing federal grants for inspection of 
     interstate pipelines and for investigation of spills.
          Currently, pipelines carry nearly 65 percent of the petroleum and
     most natural gas transported in the United States.   The DOT?s 
     Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) oversees the 
     pipeline safety program that creates safety regulations for pipelines 
     and penalizes pipeline companies whose operations fail to meet 
     government safety standards.
An audio version of this release may be found on the White House actuality
                           line at 202-456-5671.

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