Washington, DC – Charles Dippo, vice president of South Jersey Gas and chairman of the American Gas Association (AGA) Operating Section, testified today on behalf of AGA before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power at a hearing focused on pipeline safety oversight.
“Pipeline safety is our first priority,” said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of AGA. “As an industry we are constantly working to advance the safe delivery of natural gas to the 175 million Americans we serve. We believe Congress can develop pipeline safety reauthorization with strong bipartisan support.”
“The natural gas utility industry has a strong safety record and we are committed to working with all stakeholders to improve,” said Dippo. “To that end, we applaud this committee’s focus on moving pipeline safety reauthorization forward. Passage of a comprehensive pipeline safety bill this year will help us achieve a common goal—to enhance the safe delivery of this vital energy resource.”
Dippo’s testimony commended the pipeline industry leadership in joining U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood in his call-to-action to repair, replace or rehabilitate the highest risk infrastructure and raise the bar on pipeline safety. Dippo stressed the importance of collaborative action in helping to advance safety across the natural gas industry.
“First, we must keep our focus on key initiatives that are showing success. This includes Distribution and Transmission Integrity Management, Control Room Management, public awareness, excavation damage prevention, and voluntary initiatives such as AGA’s Best Practices Program. Second, we have an opportunity to enhance safety through better excavation damage prevention programs, establishing a data quality committee, reducing hurdles to implementing new technology, adopting the latest consensus standards, and enhancing pipeline safety legislation,” Dippo said in his testimony.
Dippo noted AGA’s continued dedication to upholding safety standards across the industry is exemplified by the recent principles adopted by the AGA Board of Directors for responsible natural gas resource development. Dippo said these principles, “address a foundation for the sustainable and responsible development of all natural gas resources in our country and underscore the commitment of local natural gas utilities to the communities they serve.”
McCurdy added, “AGA’s members are closely tied to the communities that they serve, and we want what our customers want—the safe and environmentally sound extraction, transport and delivery of affordable natural gas. We are committed to working with all stakeholders to advance safety throughout all sectors of the natural gas industry.”
For more details on the hearing click here, and to view Dippo’s testimony, please click here.