Senators has language opposed by Big Oil in pipeline reauthorization bill that would require PHMSA provide full and un-redacted copies of pipeline oil spill response plans to Congress

Washington (May 19, 2016) – Today, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) released its final investigation report regarding the Plains All-American pipeline spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, California that released 2,934 barrels of oil. The report highlights issues dealing with the company’s Oil Spill Response Plan (OSRP), including the fact that the OSRP did not adequately consider a culvert that allowed oil to flow to the ocean. The failure of the OSRP to identify and consider this culvert appears to have contributed both to the length of time required to identify the spill, as well as its severity and impact. In addition, the PHMSA report contains redactions. Last year, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a leading Congressional investigator of the BP oil spill, joined California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein in calling on PHMSA to provide more information on the spill, including Plains Pipeline’s spill response plan. The Senators have yet to receive a full copy of the spill response plan. 

Senator Markey included language in legislation that passed the Senate earlier this year, the SAFE PIPES Act, that would require PHMSA to provide Congress with full and un-redacted versions of pipeline spill response plans so that Congress can carry out its required oversight in this area. Sen. Markey’s legislation is being opposed by the American Petroleum Institute.


Senator Markey released the following statement:


“Today’s announcement by PHMSA highlights the importance of ensuring that Congress has access to all information, including un-redacted pipeline spill response plans, to ensure that it can provide oversight in the case of a spill or other emergency. It’s critical that my provision that would guarantee that this information is fully provided to Congress is passed as part of pipeline reauthorization legislation that is making its way through Congress.”