Drue Pearce appointed to US pipeline safety agency

PHMSA Deputy Director Drue Pearce. (2016 photo by Lawrence Ostrovsky for Alaska Public Media)

Former Alaska legislator Drue Pearce has a new job in the Trump administration. She is now the deputy administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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PHMSA, created in 2004, oversees the nation’s network of pipelines, some 2.3 million miles, and the transportation of hazardous materials in general, by road, rail or air.

Pearce was sworn in Monday morning.

“We look at safety first, then building infrastructure – new infrastructure, as well as maintaining the infrastructure we already have- is our second goal,” Pearce said of her new agency. “And then technology and research is the third goal.”

Pearce represented Anchorage in the Alaska Senate and became Senate president. She resigned her seat in 2001 to be a senior advisor at the Interior Department. President George W. Bush later appointed her to be the first federal coordinator for the Alaska gas line project. She maintains homes in Anchorage and outside Washington, D.C., where her new position is based.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Alaska Public Media. She reports from the U.S. Capitol and from Anchorage. Reach her at lruskin@alaskapublic.org.

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