Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, announced this week he is convening a field hearing in Charleston on pipeline safety on Jan. 28.
On the heels of the Dec. 11 transmission pipeline explosion in Sissonville, Rockefeller - who has made pipeline safety a priority in his four years as chairman - will bring together key witnesses to review the current state of pipeline safety.
"The Sissonville explosion shook West Virginia quite literally, and served as a stark reminder that pipeline safety is serious. And oversight is critically important," Rockefeller said.
"This will be the fourth Senate Commerce Committee hearing on this issue during my tenure as chairman, and it's an important one to West Virginia - because we know how much worse things could have been in Sissonville. And West Virginians want to know everything is being done to prevent accidents - and disasters."
Through the hearing, "Pipeline Safety: An On-the-Ground Look at Safeguarding the Public," Rockefeller will review the Department of Transportation's implementation of the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011, which became law last January and was largely based on legislation he cosponsored and moved through Congress. This forum will also provide an opportunity to review the findings of a Government Accountability Office study about the ability of transmission pipeline facility operators to respond to a hazardous liquid or gas release. The study is expected on January 23.
"Passing comprehensive pipeline safety legislation was a good step, but I did push for even stronger provisions in that bill and we must assess where implementation of that law stands, and whether future actions are needed," Rockefeller said.
Additional details, including time, location and witness list are forthcoming.