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Senate committee moves PHMSA administrator nominee forward for confirmation

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Senate committee moves PHMSA administrator nominee forward for confirmation

A U.S. Senate committee on Oct. 4 advanced President Donald Trump's nomination to lead the federal pipeline safety regulator.

The Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation voted to report Howard Elliott's administrator nomination favorably, moving the confirmation process along to the full Senate.

Elliott, whose nomination to lead the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA, was announced Sept. 8, is a 40-year veteran of the U.S. freight rail industry. The pipeline industry has expressed confidence in Elliott's qualifications and asked the Senate to act quickly to confirm him as administrator.

Elliott was previously the vice president of public safety, health, environment and security at CSX Corp.'s CSX Transportation Inc. During his time at CSX Transporation, Elliott was in charge of hazardous materials transportation safety and environmental compliance and operations, among other things.

PHMSA has been without a Senate-confirmed leader since January, and industry observers have said they expect having an administrator in place to speed up policy and regulatory decision-making at the agency.