U.S. Panel Won’t Consider Pipeline Safety Bill Before September

Pipeline-safety legislation can’t be brought up for a U.S. House subcommittee vote until September at the earliest, said Representative Ed Whitfield, chairman of the panel that will consider the proposal.

“I don’t think we’re going to be able to mark it up probably until September at least, because we’re running out of time,” the Kentucky Republican said in an interview in Washington today.

Whitfield’s draft bill would reauthorize pipeline safety programs through 2014, increase penalties for “major consequence violations” to $250,000 from $100,000 per violation, and set new fines if an operator intentionally prevents inspections. It also would require the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to introduce requirements for remote or automatic shut-off valves in new transmission lines if it’s “economically, technically, and operationally feasible.”

Whitfield heads the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s energy and power subcommittee.

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