When we turn on our heat, stoves, or hot water, none of us expects an explosion in our front yard that might endanger our families and neighbors.
But recent deadly pipeline blasts in San Bruno, California, and Allentown, Pennsylvania, and the damaging rupture in Marshall, Michigan, have many of us concerned about our aging pipelines.
Earlier today, I saw the damage from Allentown's February pipeline blast up close. I also met with some of the families and neighbors of the five people killed in that blast. I was struck by the ravaged neighborhood, and I am so sorry for the terrible loss these families have suffered.
To help prevent future tragedies like Allentown's, we are calling on America’s pipeline owners and operators to conduct a top-to-bottom review of their lines.
Look, the number of pipeline incidents in the U.S. has dropped by nearly 50 percent in the last 20 years, but any one of these incidents can cause a devastating loss of life.
And that’s why we’re also asking Congress to increase the maximum civil penalties for pipeline violations from $100,000 per day to $250,000 per day, and from $1 million to $2.5 million for a series of violations.
Americans deserve regulations with some real teeth to ensure that safety is everyone’s top priority.
We have a remarkable network of pipelines in this country, performing extraordinary work carrying energy to homes and businesses. And we must take steps to ensure we can rely on them to carry their loads safely. The American people are counting on it.