Larsen: Pipeline Safety is Critical to Protecting Communities in Northwest Washington and Across the United States
Spotlights Devastating 1999 Olympic Pipe Line Explosion during Bipartisan Hearing
Washington, D.C., March 10, 2023
Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) emphasized the importance of improving pipeline safety at a bipartisan hearing on the implementation of the Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2020.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) emphasized the importance of improving pipeline safety at a bipartisan hearing on the implementation of the Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2020.
“On June 10, 1999, a pipeline explosion in Bellingham, Washington, claimed the lives of two 10-year-old boys and a young man of 18 years. This explosion spurred my commitment, which has been steadfast for over 20 years, to the highest level of pipeline safety,” said Larsen, the lead Democrat on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, during the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials hearing. “For my entire tenure in Congress, I have fought to reduce the risk of pipeline incidents, promote transparency of pipeline safety information for local communities and increase accountability for pipeline operators.”
During the hearing, Larsen submitted into the record a letter from Bellingham City Councilmember Edward H. “Skip” Williams that shares Williams’s perspective on the need for pipeline safety and how implementation of the PIPES Act of 2020 will protect communities like Bellingham. Williams helped found the Pipeline Safety Trust after his stepson, Stephen Tsiorvas, died in Bellingham’s Olympic Pipe Line explosion in 1999.
“I share many of Councilmember Williams’s views and as Ranking Member, I will ensure that this Committee’s work to reauthorize the PIPES Act of 2020 puts safety at the forefront of every policy decision,” Larsen continued.
How the PIPES Act Improves Pipeline Safety
The PIPES Act of 2020 provides funding for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) through 2023 to fulfill its mission of protecting people and the environment by advancing the safe transportation of energy and other hazardous materials. The PIPES Act of 2020 was included in the bipartisan Fiscal Year 2021 omnibus spending package, which was signed into law in December 2020. The House will consider reauthorization of the PIPES Act of 2020 in the 118th Congress.
Larsen’s Support for Pipeline Safety
Larsen has prioritized pipeline safety throughout his time in Congress:
For more information on the hearing, click here.