SAN MATEO, CA - Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo), today released the following statement on the passage of H.R. 2845, The Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011:
“This bill is an important step forward for pipeline safety, but it fails to address a key factor in the death of eight of my constituents and the destruction of 38 homes in last year’s San Bruno natural gas pipeline explosion. I applaud the elimination of the grandfathering rule—this means that old pipes will have to be tested and fixed if they leak. Unfortunately, the bill does not adopt several key recommendations released by the NTSB after its investigation of the San Bruno pipeline failure. For example, the bill does not require installation of automatic and remote shut off valves on existing pipelines in high consequence areas while allowing economic feasibility, a vague condition that is not defined, as an excuse not to install remote or automatic valves on new pipelines. In the San Bruno explosion it took an hour and a half to turn off the gas with two manual valves. Had automatic or remote shut off valves been in place, it would have taken less than ten minutes and most likely saved many homes and possibly lives. We cannot put a price tag on human life. Ask any American living near a transmission line if they would like to have remote or automatic shut off valves – the answer is obvious.”
Speier said she will continue to push her legislation, H.R. 22, The Pipeline Safety and Community Empowerment Act of 2011, to require remote and automatic shut-off valves to be put on old pipelines in populated areas.