HELENA — State Senate Majority Leader Matthew Rosendale proposed increased pipeline transparency to a House panel Wednesday, almost two months after a major oil pipeline burst in his district.
Republican Sen. Rosendale submitted Senate Bill 368 in the House Federal Relations, Energy and Telecommunications Committee.
The proposal would require the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to publish pipeline information online, including counties where pipelines cross rivers and the closest shut-off valves to a river.
After a pipeline break spilled 30,000 gallons of crude oil into Montana’s Yellowstone River in January, Rosendale said he could find little to no information about the pipeline online, which his proposal seeks to change.
“It at least would make the information available to the general public about what’s going on,” Rosendale said.
About a dozen people spoke in favor of the proposal, which cleared the Senate last month on votes of 50-0 and 48-2 and is expected to receive the governor’s signature should it survive the House in its current form. No one has opposed SB 368 at the Capitol.
Bonnie Lovelace, regulatory affairs manager at the Department of Environmental Quality, said the measure would potentially make available information about hundreds of pipeline river crossings.
Rosendale emphasized that by providing the information in spreadsheets, not maps, the department would ensure the safety of pipelines across the state.
Existing resources could be used to compile and post the data, meaning the measure would cost the state no money, according to a fiscal analysis by the Governor’s Office of Budget and Program Planning.
Rosendale represents a northeastern district stretching from Glendive to Sidney – the area surrounding a pipeline break that spilled 30,000 gallons of crude oil into Montana’s Yellowstone River in January.
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