Thursday, December 14, 2023

Review - HR 6509 Introduced – Pipeline Info Sharing

Last month, Rep Molinaro (R,NY) introduced HR 6509, the Voluntary Information-Sharing System Act. The bill would require DOT to “establish a confidential voluntary information-sharing system (referred to in this section as ‘VIS’) to encourage the sharing of pipeline safety data and information in a non-punitive context in order to improve the safety of gas, carbon dioxide, and hazardous liquid gathering, transmission, and distribution pipelines and facilities, including storage facilities. The legislation would authorize $10 million per year to operate this program.

The bill would add a new §60144, Voluntary information-sharing system, to 49 USC. It would require DOT to establish the VIS program. PHMSA would be required to appoint a Governing Board while providing a Program Manager to oversee the day-to-day operation of the Program. A Third-Party Data Manager shall provide data management and data oversight services for the VIS. Issue Analysis Teams would perform the actual work of aggregating, analyzing and reporting on de-identified pipeline safety data and information accepted by the VIS.

Moving Forward

Molinaro and one of his cosponsors {Rep Cohen (D,TN)} are members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to which this bill was assigned for consideration. This means that there should be sufficient influence to see the bill considered in Committee.

Language essentially identical to bill was included as §24 in the HR 6494, the PIPES Act of 2023. The Transportation Committee. The record for that hearing is not yet complete (it has outdated supporting document links), but the Committee did adopt the substitute language which also contained essentially the same language. It is not yet clear if other changes were made.

Once the Committee report is published, the revised bill will be available for action by the full House. Without seeing the Committee’s final vote, it is hard to predict how the bill will fare in future consideration.


There is no language in either bill that deals with the special intricacies of information sharing dealing with cyber issues. Not surprising since the PHMSA report that provides the background information for this legislation was published two years before the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack and the resulting TSA cybersecurity regulations. Unfortunately, if cyber information sharing language had been added, a third committee (the House Homeland Security Committee) would have been added to the list of committees that would be required to sign off on the bill. This is part of the continuing congressional oversight problem.


For more details about the provisions of this bill, see my article at CFSN Detailed Analysis - - subscription required.

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