Today the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Energy & Environment held a hearing on Pipeline Safety & Oversight. AGA’s COO, Lori Traweek testified. You can watch the testimony or read the full transcript of Lori’s testimony over at the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment website but I’ll start it off here.
Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee. My name is Lori Traweek and I am the senior vice president and chief operating officer for the American Gas Association (AGA). AGA represents 195 local energy companies that deliver natural gas throughout the United States.
Let me first say, our hearts go out to those who are suffering and have lost loved ones and homes as a result of the tragic natural gas explosion in San Bruno, CA. Any natural gas incident, no matter the size, is one incident too many. For that reason, AGA and its member utilities are committed to fostering best practices and engaging in industry dialogue with all key stakeholders to advance safe operations. As I speak, senior executives and safety leaders from gas utilities around the country are meeting at our fourth annual AGA Executive Safety Leadership Summit to discuss how the natural gas industry can improve pipeline safety, along with the safety of our employees, contractors and our customers. We also held our semi-annual operations technical committee meetings this week to address issues related to corrosion control, gas control, and a variety of pipeline and employee safety issues. Not surprisingly, the San Bruno tragedy was a focus of the conversations. We hold these forums because, first and foremost, the industry’s goal is to safely, reliably and efficiently deliver natural gas to the more than 70 million customers in the United States who rely on natural gas for their energy needs. When there is a tragic incident like this, similar to Congress, the regulators and the public, we too want to determine what could have been done to prevent the incident and then take appropriate actions to prevent a reoccurrence.
The utilities that deliver the natural gas are subject not only to their own stringent internal controls, but also must meet rigorous federal and state oversight — and the safety of the public is, and always will remain, our industry’s paramount priority.
The natural gas industry operates an extensive 2.4 million miles of distribution and transmission pipelines that stretches across the country. The industry spends an estimated $7 billion each year in safety-related activities…[read Lori’s full testimony before the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment]