Thursday, September 8, 2011

Transportation Committee Marks Up CG and Pipeline Bills

Today the House Transportation Committee held a markup hearing where it approved five bills by voice votes; including two bills that might be of interest to readers of this blog:

H.R. 2838, the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2011; and

H.R. 2845, the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011.

HR 2838

I discussed the provisions of HR 2838 when it was introduced last week. None of the amendments offered today (7 offered, 3 withdrawn, 4 passed by  voice votes) had any effect on the provisions discussed in that posting. Neither did any of the amendments address and MTSA/TWIC issues or pending Certain Dangerous Cargo rules. In short, there is nothing in this bill (besides the GPS interference provisions) that will have any appreciable effect on chemical security or chemical safety in a maritime environment.

I did note in that earlier post that this bill was obviously a priority for Subcommittee Chairman LoBiondo (R,NJ). The full committee markup today is an indication of the importance accorded to this bill by both LoBiondo and Committee Chair Mica (R,FL).

HR 2845

HR 2845 was introduced yesterday by Rep. Shuster (R, PA) and an official copy of the bill is not yet available on the GPO web site. The link above is to a committee draft of the bill. A quick review of that draft shows that this bill has some significant difference from the House Energy and Commerce bill on the same topic that I discussed back in July. It is also appears substantially different from S 275 that addresses most of the same topics.

Since this bill was referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee as well as the Transportation Committee, the two slightly different approaches to pipeline safety will have to be reconciled before the bill comes to a floor vote. The version adopted by the full House (a relative certainty given the bipartisan support shown for the bill in Committee today) will most likely have to then be reconciled with the version of S 275 that will be adopted by Committee in that body.

NOTE: I did not include this hearing in my weekly list of upcoming hearings because it was not announced until yesterday.

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