Senator Jon Tester has written to President Obama to nominate a permanent administrator to head the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the agency responsible for overseeing pipeline and crude-by-rail safety.

“It is important to states like ours that PHMSA have a permanent administrator to ensure accountability, to develop long-term plans for pipeline transport and crude-by-rail safety, and to respond quickly when things unfortunately go wrong,” Tester wrote.  “We rely on this Agency to protect our citizens and our environment from damaging spills and accidents, while also ensuring the flow of energy products to those who need them.”

PHMSA has operated without a permanent administrator since October, making it difficult for Congress to hold the agency accountable for keeping over 2.6 million miles of pipelines carrying crude oil, natural gas, and other hazardous substances safe.