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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 3, 2000


Today, my Administration is taking significant steps to ensure the safety of Americans living and working near the more than two million miles of oil and gas pipeline that criss-cross our country. These pipelines are vital to our economy and our daily lives. But when they fail, they can damage the environment, contaminate our drinking water, threaten the safety of our communities, and put human lives at risk. Recent tragedies in Bellingham, Washington, and near Carlsbad, New Mexico, have underscored the need to improve pipeline safety nationwide.

Despite efforts in both the House and the Senate, there has been no final action this year on legislation to improve pipeline safety. Consequently, we are taking two actions today to strengthen protections for communities across the country. First, the Department of Transportation is issuing strong new requirements for large hazardous liquid pipeline operators to regularly inspect and promptly repair pipelines in populated and environmentally sensitive areas, and to take systematic steps to detect and prevent leaks. Second, I am directing the Secretary of Transportation to take additional steps leading to stronger pipeline safety standards, improved enforcement, enhanced federal-state partnerships, increased public access to information, and more innovative technology. Together, these actions will help ensure that our pipeline system is sound, our communities are safe, and our environment is protected.