Washington, DC – The COVID-19 pandemic has only further demonstrated how important our supply chains are – from our pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, to our telecommunications gear and energy infrastructure. Domestic resources are imperative for our national security; the more we can create our own supply to meet demands, the less we rely on other nations.
Pipelines are a critical piece of America’s energy independence. They’re vital to fueling our energy dominance by facilitating the safe transfer of resources across the nation. In fact, nearly 3 million miles of energy pipelines deliver billions of barrels of liquid petroleum and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas to American consumers and businesses across the nation each year.
Energy and Commerce Republican David McKinley (R-WV) recently highlighted the importance of our pipelines in a hearing with Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette.
Rep. David McKinley (R-WV): Improving our energy security improves our national security. Do you agree?
Secretary Brouillette: Yes.
Rep. McKinley: If gas-fired power plants provide nearly 40 percent of America’s energy, do all gas-fired power plants get their natural gas from pipelines?
Secretary Brouillette: Yes, in America. Pretty much.
Rep. McKinley: And if 90 percent of our natural gas is transported by pipelines, is it fair to say, therefore, that pipelines are an essential part of our national security?
Secretary Brouillette: Yes.
Last week, the Department of Energy continued its upkeep of our energy resources by announcing $33 million in funding for projects through the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA-E) Rapid Encapsulation of Pipelines Avoiding Intensive Replacement (REPAIR) program. The REPAIR programs use technology to update existing cast iron and bare steel pipes by creating modernized pipes inside of old ones. This technology will help address potential deficiencies in pipelines at a low cost so they can continue to be provide affordable natural gas resources.
E&C Republicans are committed to ensuring the continued use and safety of our nation’s pipelines. This has long been a bipartisan priority, but unfortunately House Democrats this Congress have continued to prioritize partisan messaging exercises instead of working together with Republicans on bipartisan solutions.
Last week, the Senate passed the Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act, a bipartisan effort that would ensure the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has the resources it needs to oversee the safety of our nation’s pipelines. Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) and Energy Subcommittee Republican Leader Fred Upton (R-MI) applauded the Senate’s bipartisan action, and called on the Democratic counterparts in the House to do the same and bring this bill to the floor for a vote.
Republicans have long prioritized and will continue to call for a bipartisan reauthorization of our nation’s pipeline safety laws. Too much is at stake not to do so.