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Three trade associations representing the oil and natural gas industry say they support President Trump's nomination of Howard "Skip" Elliott, a 40-year veteran of the U.S. freight rail industry, to serve as administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).
Elliott currently serves as vice president of public safety, health, environment and security for Jacksonville, FL-based CSX Transportation. The White House announced Monday that Elliott's nomination has been sent to the Senate.
Last Friday, the White House said Elliott's "portfolio of responsibility included hazardous materials transportation safety, homeland security, railroad policing, crisis management, environmental compliance and operations, occupational health management and continuity of business operations.
"He is a pioneer and leading advocate in developing and implementing computer-based tools to assist emergency management officials, first responders, and homeland security personnel in preparing for and responding to a railroad hazardous materials or security incident." The White House added that Elliott received a lifetime achievement award for hazardous materials transportation safety from the Association of American Railroads.
Don Santa, CEO of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), applauded the pick and urged the Senate to take quick action over Elliott's nomination.
"Elliott, if confirmed, would bring extensive experience and leadership in safety, security, operations and emergency management to PHMSA," Santa said, adding that INGAA urged the Senate "to hold a hearing and quickly confirm this qualified nominee."
In separate statements, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) said they also supported Elliott's nomination.
API told NGI on Tuesday that Elliott "brings a wealth of experience to take over the helm of PHMSA. PHMSA has an important role to play in overseeing the safety of our nation's rail, pipeline and other energy infrastructure and [his] background in the rail industry is an asset to the agency and its mission. We look forward to working with him and continuing our work with the entire PHMSA team on these important issues."
John Stoody, AOPL's vice president for government and public relations, added that his organization "welcomes the nomination of Mr. Elliott and his extensive emergency management experience. Transporting safely the products American consumers need and want is a common goal of rail and pipelines and we look forward to pursuing that goal with him at PHMSA."
PHMSA, an agency within the Department of Transportation, is responsible for enacting and enforcing regulations governing the transport of energy resources -- including oil and gas pipelines -- as well as other hazardous materials.