Monday, December 4, 2023

PIPES Act 2023 Markup – 12-6-23

This afternoon the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee announced that they would hold a full Committee markup hear on Wednesday. Only three bills will be considered; of specific interest here will be HR 6494, the Promoting Innovation in Pipeline Efficiency and Safety (PIPES) Act of 2023. This bill is the periodic reauthorization of PHMSA’s pipeline safety program and regulations (PSR).

The GPO has not yet published the official version of the bill, but the today’s meeting notice includes a link to a committee print of the bill as well as an amendment in the nature of a substitute (ANS). I have not yet had a chance to do a detailed review of the two versions, but just looking at the Table of Contents for the two versions shows the same 32 section names in each, so any differences will be down in the weeds.

This is not quite a ‘must pass bill’, PHMSA’s pipeline program is not going to fold if this bill (or some version of an authorization bill) does not pass. But these PIPES bills provide a way for Congress to keep their collective thumbs on pipeline matters.

Interestingly, the other two bills (HR 6276 and HR 6278, both government-building management bills) have been the subject of a markup hearing on November 11th, but consideration of the two bills was postponed at that time. This typically means that there are some significant disagreements about provisions of the bill that still need to be worked out. 

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