Senators to hold pipeline safety hearing in Charleston

PARKERSBURG – A hearing on pipeline safety in the aftermath of the explosion at Sissonville last month will be held on Jan. 28 in Charleston.

The meeting, of which the time, location and witness list will be announced later, was organized by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

A pipeline near Interstate 77 in Sissonville exploded and caught fire on Dec. 11, destroying adjacent structures, but not injuring anyone.

“The Sissonville explosion shook West Virginia quite literally, and served as a stark reminder that pipeline safety is serious. And oversight is critically important,” Rockefeller said. “This will be the fourth Senate Commerce Committee hearing on this issue during my tenure as chairman, and it’s an important one to West Virginia – because we know how much worse things could have been in Sissonville. And West Virginians want to know everything is being done to prevent accidents and disasters.”

Through the hearing, “Pipeline Safety: An On-the-Ground Look at Safeguarding the Public,” Rockefeller will review the Department of Transportation’s implementation of the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011, which became law in January 2012 and was largely based on legislation he cosponsored and moved through Congress.

The forum also will provide an opportunity to review the findings of a Government Accountability Office study about the ability of transmission pipeline facility operators to respond to a hazardous liquid or gas release. The study is expected on Jan. 23.