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Pipeline hearing witness list released

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A U.S. Senate hearing on pipeline safety will be conducted next week, and now we know who will be speaking to lawmakers.

The meeting is being hosted by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. and is scheduled for Jan. 28 in Charleston.

"I'm looking forward to hearing from all of our witnesses next week," Rockefeller said. "Our policy decisions and industry practices should always be driven by the real life implications of our work. One witness, Sue Bonham of Sissonville, will share her personal experiences that underscore the importance for all of us to continue our efforts to work toward improved safety across the board."

The hearing was announced just after a Dec. 11 explosion destroyed several homes in Sissonville. Rockefeller said the explosion served as a reminder of the level of severity in dealing with pipeline safety.

"This will be the fourth Senate Commerce Committee hearing on this issue during my tenure as chairman, and it's an important one to West Virginia – because we know how much worse things could have been in Sissonville," he said in the first announcement of the hearing. "And West Virginians want to know everything is being done to prevent accidents – and disasters."

Rockefeller's office released the following list of witnesses for the hearing:

  • The Honorable Deborah Hersman, Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) 
  • The Honorable Cynthia Quarterman, Administrator, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)
  • Susan Fleming, Director, Physical Infrastructure Issues, United States Government Accountability Office
  • Jimmy Staton, Executive Vice President and Group CEO, NiSource Gas Transmission and Storage
  • Rick Kessler, President of the Board, The Pipeline Safety Trust
  • Sue Bonham, a resident of Sissonville whose home was damaged in the Sissonville blast

The name of the hearing is "Pipeline Safety: An On-the-Ground Look at Safeguarding the Public."