House Passes Final Pipeline Safety Bill, including Baucus-Tester Provisions, Senate to Consider this Week

(Washington, D.C.) – Montana’s U.S. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester applauded House passage of their pipeline safety and transparency legislation today. The Senators introduced legislation this summer to address gaps in pipeline safety oversight and transparency that came to light as a result of the oil spills in Montana’s Yellowstone River and Cut Bank Creek. Parts of the Baucus-Tester legislation were included in a larger pipeline bill that passed the House tonight, and Senate is expected to take up the legislation later this week.

“Part of our job in the aftermath of the Yellowstone spill is using what we learned to help make sure such a terrible accident doesn’t happen again .  This bill is a good step toward improving our oversight and increasing transparency, so that the folks who live and work along our rivers can keep an eye on the industries and agencies that are supposed to protect them,” Baucus said.

“We have a responsibility to make sure our energy infrastructure is as safe as possible, and that safety information transparent and easily available to the public,” Tester said. “These provisions are important as Montana expands its energy future, and I’m pleased they have earned bipartisan support.”

American Rivers Northern Rockies Director, Scott Bosse says the legislation is vital for the nation’s rivers.  "As the nation's leading conservation organization working to protect and restore healthy rivers, American Rivers applauds Senators Baucus and Tester for improving this pipeline safety bill so we don't have to choose between healthy rivers and vital infrastructure. This legislation will help ensure that pipeline spills like the one that fouled the Yellowstone River last summer don't happen again," Bosse said.

The Baucus-Tester pipeline safety provisions adopted in tonight’s bill will:

1. Modernize pipeline safety regulations based on best available data, with a specific focus on floods.

2. Increase transparency by requiring pipeline regulators to make oil spill response plans publicly available.

3. Provide technical assistance to tribes regarding pipeline safety.

4. Require the Department of Transportation to review and update its regulations for gathering lines, leak detection standards, and automatic shut-off valves.

The Senators will continue working to ensure local governments have a stronger voice in spill cleanup.

The final legislation that passed the House tonight is available HERE.

Text of the original Baucus-Tester bill is available HERE.