Brown Calls On House to Pass Bill to Strengthen Pipeline Safety Standards, Presses Federal Officials to Investigate Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion

Following Senate Passage, Brown Calls on U.S. House to Pass Bill to Ensure the Safety of Natural Gas Pipelines. Brown Urges Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to Take Steps to Prevent Future Explosions that Destroyed Property and Injured Ohioans in Morgan County

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the explosion of a natural gas pipeline that destroyed three homes and injured two Ohioans in Morgan County yesterday, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged the U.S. of Representatives to pass a bill that would strengthen safety standards for natural gas pipelines. Brown also called on federal officials to investigate the explosion and ensure the safety of natural gas pipelines throughout the state.

“Ohioans should have confidence that natural gas pipelines throughout our state are safe,” Brown said. “As areas of Ohio see increased drilling for natural gas, it’s critical that we ensure the safety of Ohioans, their property, and the environment. The Senate spoke with one voice and passed the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act, and now it’s time for the House to take a strong stance.”  

Last month, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2011 to strengthen safety standards and increase transparency of inspection and enforcement reports of natural gas pipelines. The bill would require new safety procedures, impose higher penalties for safety violations, and expedite notifications of accidents or leaks.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) oversees and publicly reports on pipeline safety, including data incidents. Brown sent a letter today to PHMSA asking it to investigate today’s explosion and enforce all safety procedures.

Full text of the letter is below.

November 17, 2011


Cynthia Quarterman

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20590



Dear Administrator Quarterman:

I write you regarding a recent explosion of a gas pipeline in Glouster, Ohio.  It is my understanding that on the morning of November 16, 2011, a 25 inch pipeline owned by the El Paso Corporation exploded.  It has been reported that flames from the explosion were hundreds of feet in the air and was felt by individuals more than 10 miles away.  At least three structures are known to have been destroyed; fortunately only two people were injured. 

I urge you to undertake a timely and thorough inspection of what and how this explosion occurred.  Ohioans should have confidence that the pipelines running through our states and under our city streets our safe and well regulated.  I look forward to your response.


Sherrod Brown

United States Senator


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