Safety will always be the top priority at the Department of Transportation, but it’s not a mission we can do alone. It’s a job for all of us—and we must work together.
Later today, I will be visiting the site of the tragic San Bruno explosion with Rep. Jackie Speier. The natural gas explosion killed eight people and destroyed dozens of homes, decimating an entire neighborhood.
This loss is more than an unfortunate tragedy. It is a call to action to improve pipeline safety.
I’m asking for America’s pipeline owners and operators to take a good, hard look at their lines as part of a top-to-bottom review. We want them to to replace and repair those lines in poor condition as soon as possible.
I’ve also called on Congress to raise the maximum civil penalties against companies committing safety violations, boost the number of safety inspectors, and close the loopholes that allow pipeline owners to evade safety standards.
We can all do our part to improve pipeline safety at home, too. That’s why I’m reminding contractors, homeowners, and renters to “know what’s below” and call 811 before they dig. Some of these distribution lines are installed just 12 inches below the surface. That new garden, fence, or do-it-yourself home project is great, but it isn’t worth your life.
America's pipelines are essential to our lives and our economic vitality. And we owe it to the victims of San Bruno and Allentown, Pennsylvania, to prevent another devastating accident. Together, we can make our pipelines the safest and most reliable in the world.