News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today offered an amendment to ensure full funding for her Pipeline Safety Act of 2000 in the FY2001 budget. The amendment was offered during the budget mark-up in the Senate Budget Committee and passed the Committee by unanimous consent.

"This vote confirms what the people of Washington state have known since the tragic pipeline explosion in Bellingham last year – our communities need and deserve stronger pipeline safety laws," Senator Murray said. "Today we took a step towards protecting our schools and homes from pipeline disasters."

The budget mark-up is the first step in passing our nation's budget. The priorities reported out of the Budget Committee will be subject to further discussion and amendments on the Senate floor, and the budget that passes the entire Senate will inform the appropriations process later this year. Senator Murray's amendment will help ensure that pipeline safety remains a priority even as the Majority seeks to enact sweeping tax cuts and slash funding for critical priorities such as infrastructure, public safety, and education.

Senator Murray's amendment follows other recent developments in the fight to improve pipeline safety. On Tuesday, March 28, Governor Gary Locke signed into law the Washington Pipeline Safety Act, which gives the state of Washington authority to enforce federal pipeline safety regulations. While important, this authority is temporary and is limited to existing federal regulations, which have proven inadequate to meeting the country's pipeline safety needs.

Senator Murray's Pipeline Safety Act of 2000 would give states permanent authority to oversee some aspects of pipeline regulation. Other features of the Act include mandatory pipeline inspections, a public "right to know" provision, and more resources for safety research and inspections at the state and federal levels. Senator Murray's bill has been co-sponsored by Senators Bayh (D-Ind.), Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Inouye (D-Hawaii), and Gorton (R-Wash.).

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