Brigham McCown served under President George W. Bush as acting head of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHSMA), which regulates shipment of materials ranging from oil to hazardous medical waste.
He also served as chief counsel of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which oversees trucking and buses.
He has formed the Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure, a non-profit that will promote “innovative technologies and safer outcomes for national infrastructure projects.”
Here are some excerpts of our conversation with McCown:
Because of the public’s fear of accidents in shipping crude oil by rail, is more shipment going to shift to pipelines?
In a lot of instances, transportation infrastructure tends to lag the development of areas…. We’re now obtaining oil from locations where we previously haven’t.
While there is a mature pipeline infrastructure system in Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, for example, it’s not unusual that that infrastructure lags behind production in the Bakken.
What’s been interesting to me is that we haven’t seen more pipeline infrastructure plans thus far, because we’re now five years or so into the Bakken [boom]….
My assessment is that producers were waiting on the last leg of Keystone XL to get built, because it was going to increase the Keystone system by about 450,000 barrels a day. And a little over 100,000 of that was to come from the Bakken….
Some pipeline companies have been reluctant to make significant plans, because they’ve seen infrastructure being attacked for various reasons by opponents in recent years. Keystone is the poster child of opposition to infrastructure, and I think that’s had a chilling effect ….
Read more at Roll Call.