President Obama appoints Marie Therese Dominquez as head of PHMSA

Barack Obama
Source: WikiCommons

On Friday, the U.S. president Barack Obama nominated Marie Therese Dominguez to lead the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The nomination came in the wake of a letter signed by ten Democrat senators who urged President Obama to “submit a nomination for PHMSA administrator as soon as practical.”

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is a United States Department of Transportation agency created in 2004, and responsible for developing and enforcing regulations for the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the US’ 2.6 million mile pipeline transportation. It is responsible for nearly 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air.

In their letter, the senators – who all came from states which have experienced pipeline spills and crude-by-rail accidents – said: “Given PHMSA’s responsibilities of regulating approximately 2.6 million miles of pipelines that carry natural gas, crude oil, gasoline and other hazardous liquids all over our country, and the critical role the agency plays in regulating crude-by-rail, we are concerned that we still do not have a permanent administrator to lead the Agency.”

The position of the agency’s administrator has been vacant since Cynthia L. Quarterman, an attorney and former government official, resigned in October 2014.

Prior to her appointment at the helm of the PHMSA, Ms Dominguez served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) and, before that, as the Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy for the United States Postal Service.

Along with Ms Dominguez’ nomination, President Obama also appointed Sarah Feinberg — the current acting administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) — to head the agency.

In nominating Dominguez and Feinberg, President Obama said, “It gives me great confidence that such dedicated and capable individuals will serve the American people as part of this Administration. I look forward to working with them.”

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