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New pipeline safety legislation

On June 10, 1999, a gas pipeline operated by the Olympic Pipeline Company exploded in Bellingham's Whatcom Falls Park — taking the lives of two 10-year-old boys, Stephen Tsiorvas and Wade King, and an 18-year-old young man, Liam Wood. Following the incident, I helped draft several pieces of legislation to ensure the safety, regulation, and adequate staffing of pipelines.

In 2021, I toured Whatcom Falls Park with pipeline safety experts to discuss the 1999 explosion and how to further improve pipeline safety.

That same year, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law established the Natural Gas Distribution Infrastructure Safety and Modernization grant initiative, which makes millions in funding available to municipality- or community-owned utilities to repair, rehabilitate or replace its natural gas distribution pipeline systems or to acquire safety equipment.

This tragedy and other pipeline incidents are preventable, and I am grateful to share that we are continuing to take measures in Congress to ensure that every pipeline across the country has robust safety standards and guidelines.

As the lead Democrat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I am thrilled to announce the introduction of a crucial, bipartisan bill aiming to bolster pipeline safety not only in the Pacific Northwest — but across the entire nation. This legislation will:

Together, we can make substantial strides in ensuring a safer and more secure energy infrastructure for everyone.

More soon,


Posted on December 18, 2023.