02.19.21

Peters to Chair Commerce Subcommittee Overseeing Key Michigan Priorities

Subcommittee Includes Jurisdiction on Agencies Overseeing Pipeline Safety, Automotive Guidelines

DETROIT, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, will chair the Surface Transportation, Maritime, Freight, and Ports Subcommittee. The Subcommittee oversees a number of key priorities for Michigan, including the federal agency that oversees pipeline safety and the agency responsible for issuing guidance related to self-driving vehicles and technology.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) oversees pipeline safety across the country. Senator Peters has worked with PHMSA in raising concerns regarding Line 5, which runs underneath the Straits of Mackinac, and has passed bipartisan legislation into law strengthening the agency’s emergency authority to take action to address unsafe pipeline conditions that risk harming public health and safety or the environment. Peters also previously authored provisions that were signed into law designating the Great Lakes as a high consequence area and improving oil spill response plans to address ice cover.

“The Great Lakes not only provide drinking water for 40 million people, but they are also an economic driver for our state and are simply part of who we are as Michiganders,” said Senator Peters. “We already know how a pipeline spill in Michigan can have long-term and damaging consequences. A pipeline spill in the Straits of Mackinac would be catastrophic for Michigan – we must do everything we can to protect the Great Lakes for future generations, and I look forward to continuing to work with PHMSA through my subcommittee chairmanship.”

The Committee additionally oversees the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency that works closely with the American auto industry. Peters has repeatedly called for a federal framework to usher in the safe deployment of new mobility technologies that will transform the industry, including self-driving vehicles.

“We must position ourselves as the global leader in automotive innovation for the future, and that means ensuring we have up-to-date guidelines so that self-driving vehicles can be safely deployed, consumers can be protected and these life-saving technologies can be developed and built in the United States,” said Senator Peters. “I’ve been encouraged by my conversations with President Biden’s Administration, and I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues on a framework that will strengthen the American auto industry and autoworkers while prioritizing safety and innovation.”

In addition to PHMSA and NHTSA, the Surface Transportation, Maritime, Freight, and Ports Subcommittee additionally oversees the Office of the Secretary of Transportation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Amtrak, the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, the Transportation Security Administration (Rail & Pipeline Security), the Surface Transportation Board, the National Transportation Safety Board (Surface Safety Programs), the Maritime Administration and the Federal Maritime Commission.

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