By: Ryan Malone
Original Article from NSPE
Battling for Pipeline Safety
NSPE MEMBERS LAURA FRIELLO, P.E., (L) AND RICK GUERRA, P.E., (R) MET WITH SANDY EDWARDS, THE CENTRAL TEXAS REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR US SENATOR JOHN CORNYN (TX-R), TO ADVOCATE FOR PIPELINE SAFETY LEGISLATION.
For the last few months, NSPE has been updating members about the Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act (H.R. 2139, S.1097), a bill that would make National Transportation Safety Board recommendations regarding gas pipeline operators into federal guidelines. Specifically, NSPE efforts have focused on a provision that would require a PE to approve “covered tasks,” which include activities that affect the operation or integrity of the pipeline.
Earlier this summer, the Senate version of the Pipeline Safety Act was added, as an amendment, to a larger pipeline safety bill, S. 2299. Unfortunately, the amended language fully restored the licensing exemption. Instead of requiring a professional engineer to approve covered tasks, the language now simply says approval can be given by “relevant qualified personnel,” which includes PEs but is not strictly limited to PEs. NSPE believes this change to be problematic as it removes a layer of accountability.
A Call to Action
Now, more than ever, your senators need to hear from you about how your state’s residents will be affected if this change is passed into law. Many need to be educated about professional licensure—how the process works, what makes a PE different from an unlicensed engineer, and how PEs are uniquely positioned, indeed specifically accountable, for putting the health, safety, and welfare of the public first.
What You Can Do—Call your Senators
Tell the person on the phone that you’re a professional engineer;
Express your disappointment in the amended language;
Ask them to work on getting the original language back in the bill;
Ask who in the office you can talk to about the issue; and
Try to schedule a phone call with that person, so you can have a longer conversation about PEs and the amended language in S. 2299.
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