News Releases

Murray Delivers Record Pipeline Safety Funding in Senate Appropriations Bill

Jul 12 2001

Murray's Budget Is Higher than the House and Administration Budgets for Pipeline Safety

(Washington, D.C.) -- Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chair of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, announced that she has secured record funding for pipeline safety in the Senate Appropriations bill.

"This funding will provide the new inspectors, technology and resources to make pipelines safer," Murray said. "It demonstrates our commitment to improving pipeline safety."

Today, Murray's budget proposal was passed by both the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee and the full Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill must now be passed by the full Senate, reconciled with the House bill, and signed by President Bush. If approved, the Murray-secured funding would exceed both the funding levels passed by the House and the levels requested by President Bush.

Murray's budget:

  • Provides $58.8 million in total funding for the Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS). The Senate's appropriation is $10 million more than the House, $5 million more than the President's request, and $11 million more than the current funding level for Fiscal Year 2001.

  • Fully funds the 26 new positions requested by OPS, six more than were were approved by the House.

  • Provides $4.7 million for pipeline safety research and development to improve pipeline safety and evaluation devices. The House approved $2.7 million.

  • Provides $8 million for the Integrity Management Program for testing and best safety practices ($4 million more than the House, and $3 million more than the President's request)

  • Provides $3.4 million for a new Damage Prevention Community Assistance Program, which would update the national mapping system and improve community right-to-know.

  • Provides $2 million for the Interstate Oversight Grant program, which will help states ensure that the best damage prevention practices are fully assessed by all interstate pipelines.

  • Provides $1 million for state One-Call Grants, to prevent construction damage to existing pipelines.

  • Retains the $800,000 earmark for the Washington State Pipeline Safety Program, which Murray secured last year

  • Provides 14 new positions and $2.6 million to upgrade outdated computer and IT systems. Currently, these antiquated systems make it difficult for pipeline inspectors in the field to get the most up-to-date information from regional offices and headquarters, compromising their enforcement and inspection efforts.

Since a deadly pipeline explosion in Bellingham, Washington on June 10, 1999, Senator Murray has worked to raise pipeline safety standards nationwide. She worked with then-Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater to station the first permanent pipeline safety inspector in Washington state, and she wrote and introduced the first pipeline safety bill of the 106th Congress. Senator Murray also helped secure special inspection authority for the State of Washington. She helped the Department of Transportation issue new safety guidelines. In September 2000 and again in February 2001, Murray helped secure Senate passage of the strongest pipeline safety measures to ever pass either chamber of Congress.