HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) The safety of natural gas pipelines coming under question from some state lawmakers. Now they’re pushing a number of bills they say will increase their safety. Eyewitness News Harrisburg Reporter Matt Heckel explains.
At a rally at the state capitol on Tuesday, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle announced the formation of the Pipeline Safety Caucus.
That caucus is getting to work immediately, pushing a package of bills aimed to increase safety.
“To create the beginnings of a strong regulatory process here in Pennsylvania, where none now exists in terms of pipelines,” said Sen. Andy Dinniman, (D) Chester County.
The bills include establishing a commission to study pipeline construction and operations, require the companies transporting natural gas to meet with county emergency coordinators and to establish a Landowner’s Bill of Rights.
Senator Dinniman is also calling on a two-year moratorium when it comes to the eminent domain authority of pipeline projects.
“Property rights are among the most fundamental rights of the American people,” said Sen. Dinniman.
“Pipelines are the safest, and most efficient means of transporting gas and oil products to consumers,” said Sen. Camera Bartolotta, (R) Beaver, Greene, and Washington Counties.
Down the hall, a group of lawmakers touted the safety of pipelines, as well as their importance to the Pennsylvania economy.
They say the oil and natural gas industry has a nearly $45 billion impact on the state and supports more than 320,000 jobs.
“Public safety is paramount. But we have to keep in mind the value of this industry, and the demand side of this equation in giving access where it’s needed. Safe access to a resource that’s abundant, and can change our economy,” said Sen. John Blake, (D) Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Monroe Counties.