May 1, 2019

Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Andy Black, President and CEO of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) testified on pipeline safety before the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy on behalf of AOPL and the American Petroleum Institute (API) in a hearing titled The State of Pipeline Safety and Security in America.


“Pipelines are the safest way to deliver the liquid energy we all need and use every day. No other mode of transportation is as safe for the American people or the environment as pipelines,” said Black in testimony before the subcommittee.


Black’s testimony cited federal government data collected by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which shows significant, positive safety trends in key liquids pipeline performance indicators:

  • Total liquids incidents impacting people or the environment decreased 20 percent over the last five years
  • Pipeline incidents impacting people or the environment caused by incorrect operation are down 38 percent over the last five years
  • Pipeline incidents impacting people or the environment caused by corrosion, cracking or weld failure decreased 35 percent over the last five years
  • Over the last five years, liquids pipeline mileage has increased 12 percent, including a 30 percent increase in crude oil pipelines, and barrels delivered increased 44 percent

These pipeline safety metrics and more are part of the 2019 Pipeline Safety Excellence Report issued jointly by API and AOPL and available on the API website and on the AOPL website.


Black’s recommendations for reauthorizing federal pipeline safety laws centered on harnessing new technology to advance pipeline safety. AOPL with API’s support proposes creating a pilot program to test pipeline safety technologies and practices, authorizing a Voluntary Information Sharing program encouraging joint stakeholder problem solving, requiring regular PHMSA and stakeholder review of pipeline safety research and development advances, improving the approval process for alternative safety technologies, and encouraging voluntary discovery, disclosure, correction, and prevention of pipeline safety violations.


Congress should also do more to deter future attacks against pipeline facilities by closing loopholes in the scope of criminal liability placed in federal pipeline safety law by previous Congresses on a bipartisan basis. Additionally, AOPL and API recommend improving PHMSA programs and regulations by easing hiring and retention of PHMSA inspectors, improving due process in enforcement proceedings, tailoring requirements to pipeline operating status, adjusting incident reporting requirements for inflation, and incorporating the latest best practices on inspection repair and tank maintenance.