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Trade Groups Call on President Bush to Appoint PHMSA Administrator

Thirty-eight trade associations, including several key natural gas-related groups, have called on President Bush to satisfy the requirements of legislation that was signed into law a year ago and appoint an administrator for the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

"We are concerned that the necessary and important work of PHMSA is not being accorded its proper status [within the Bush administration] due to the lack of senior leadership at the administrator level," said the trade groups, including the American Gas Association, American Petroleum Institute, American Public Gas Association and Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, in a recent letter to the White House.

"As we approach the first anniversary [of the legislation], we urge you to expedite this appointment."

In November 2004, the president signed a bill creating PHMSA to carry out the duties and powers related to pipelines and hazardous materials transportation safety and security. The PHMSA oversees two offices -- the Office of Pipeline Safety and Office of Hazardous Materials Safety.

"The impetus for this legislation was to elevate the regulatory oversight of these vital sectors of the economy within the department to ensure a multi-modal approach to issues of transportation safety and security. PHMSA was to be headed by an administrator, subject to your appointment with the advice and consent of the Senate," the groups told the president.

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