Peters Statement on Nomination of Permanent Administrator to Lead Pipeline Safety Agency

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) applauded the White House’s announcement today that Marie Therese Dominguez has been nominated to lead the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Peters, along with Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI) and eight other Senators, sent a letter last week urging the Obama Administration to nominate a permanent administrator to lead the agency, which plays a vital role in protecting communities across Michigan from spills and accidents while ensuring the safe flow of energy products. PHMSA has been without a permanent administrator since October 2014.

“President Obama's nomination of a permanent administrator for PHMSA is a good start to ensuring we have a fully empowered administrator to lead the nation’s pipeline safety agency,” said Senator Peters. “With 2.6 million miles of pipelines across our country, it is critical that PHMSA has a permanent administrator who can improve accountability, develop long-term plans and respond quickly when things go wrong.  Given the environmental and economic damage caused in the Kalamazoo River by the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history, Michiganders understand why it’s so important that we do everything we can to prevent another pipeline spill or accident, particularly in the Great Lakes. As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, I look forward to hearing more from Ms. Dominguez as we move forward with the confirmation process.”

Earlier this year, Senators Peters and Stabenow introduced an amendment that would have ensured PHMSA has the resources required to oversee petroleum pipelines, including aging pipelines around the Great Lakes such as those running through the Straits of Mackinac, where a pipeline break could have disastrous impacts on the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem. The amendment would have required PHMSA to certify that they have the resources necessary to conduct proper oversight of pipelines in the Great Lakes before approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and require PHMSA to develop recommendations for special conditions to apply to pipelines in the Great Lakes, similar to the 59 special conditions developed for Keystone.