June 14, 2016The Alliance for Infrastructure and Innovation (Aii) highly commends the work of the Senate Committee on Commerce and the House Energy & Commerce and Transportation & Infrastructure Committees, in their commitment to pipeline safety with passage of the SAFE PIPES act.
This bill takes an important step in helping states improve their Damage Prevention programs, which are responsible for combatting excavation damage to pipelines – the top cause of pipeline incidents nationwide.
Specifically, the bill requires DOT to conduct a thorough study to improve damage prevention programs “through technological improvements in location, mapping, excavation, and communications practices to prevent excavation damage…”
“Technology has come a long way over the past several decades, but state excavation damage programs have not caught up,” says Aii chairman and former DOT exec, Brigham McCown. Most are still using phone calls to communicate, and flags and spray paint to identify pipeline locations.”
The study mandated by this bill could not have come at a better time. As highlighted by Aii’s just released 50-state Damage Prevention Report Card, state laws and regulations have been slow to adopt and encourage new technologies available to make excavation projects safer for all parties. (Read it here).
When completed, the Department of Transportation study mandated by this legislation will give each state the information and tools they need to update their programs to reflect 21st Century technologies.
The Aii consists of two non-profit organizations, The National Infrastructure Safety Foundation (NISF) a 501(c)(4), and the Public Institute for Facility Safety (PIFS) a 501(c)(3). The Foundation and the Institute focus on non-partisan policy issues and are governed by separate volunteer boards working in conjunction with the Aii’s own volunteer advisory council.