Pipeline Safety Bill Passed by U.S. House of Representatives

Legislation to increase federal safety programs for the 1.6 million miles of pipelines that crisscross the United States has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. The measure, which was cleared by the Senate on Wednesday, requires more safety inspections of pipelines and boosts penalties for failing to keep pipelines in good condition.

"This legislation will enhance the reliable and safe delivery of natural gas to more than 62 million customers across America," said David N. Parker, president of the American Gas Association. The bill would require pipelines to be inspected within the next 10 years to prevent leaks and ruptures. More problematic pipelines would be inspected within the first five years. All pipelines would then be re-inspected every seven years following the 10-year interval.

The legislation also increases, from $25,000 to $100,000 per day, the fine against companies that violate the pipeline safety rules. The penalty cap would double to $1 million per incident.