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Top federal pipeline official skips hearing on Michigan oil spill

A map of pipelines crisscrossing the United States
A map of pipelines crisscrossing the United States. Leaks, spills and explosions have lead to a call for more regulation.

Congress held hearings today on the Enbridge oil spill in Michigan. Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports that one top official was conspicuously abset from the hearings. Cynthia Quarterman recused herself from the oil spill hearings, because she used to work for Enbridge Energy Partners.

Quarterman is in charge of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The agency oversees the safety of 2.3 million miles of pipelines across the country.

Just this spring, the agency was celebrating its fifth anniversary, taking credit for keeping the network of pipelines humming along.

Congratulations to Administrator Cynthia Quarterman and all of the PHMSA team; whether you're in Washington, DC, or Wyoming, you're doing a great job and we appreciate it!

Says a USDOT's blog post celebrating the anniversary.

After the spills and explosions in the last month, the PHMSA is taking a closer look at how its monitoring the nation's pipelines.

Mark Brush was the station's Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.