Washington, D.C. — Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the American Gas Association (AGA), today released the following statement regarding U.S. Transportation Secretary (DOT) LaHood’s Pipeline Safety Action Plan:
“AGA agrees with Secretary LaHood that swift action to continue to increase pipeline safety is critical. We have been diligently working with key stakeholders—industry, regulators, Congress and the public—to make sure this is done thoughtfully and efficiently so that we can continue to provide safe, reliable, clean and affordable natural gas to millions of consumers across the country.
“Transportation by pipeline is the safest form of transportation that exists, and while we are proud of the strong safety record of the natural gas industry, any incident is one too many. AGA’s members recently had positive meetings with Secretary LaHood and the leadership of DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) office—both at an AGA Board meeting and a subsequent visit to DOT’s headquarters—to help emphasize the need for continued focus on pipeline safety.
“AGA supports Secretary LaHood’s call for major pipeline companies ‘to conduct a comprehensive review of their pipeline systems to identify the highest risk pipelines and prioritize critical repair needs.’ Operators are actively working on Distribution and Transmission Integrity Management programs. It is critical that these efforts are maintained and that we carefully monitor pipeline infrastructure to improve pipeline safety. Additionally, to continue to enhance our safety efforts it is important that the industry takes a leading role in ensuring the smart modernization of the nation’s pipeline infrastructure and information sharing among operators, emergency responders and the public.
In addition, as we are in the first week of ‘National Safe Digging Month,’ there could not be a better time to stress the importance of the national ‘811’ hotline to ‘Call Before You Dig.’ Excavation damage is a leading cause of pipeline incidents and this free hotline is a quick and easy way to help prevent these unnecessary accidents.
“Increased safety is the industry’s top priority, and we look forward to continued cooperation with Secretary LaHood, the leadership at PHMSA and other key stakeholders to ensure the right steps are being taken to successfully reach this end goal.”