Obama Administration Pipeline Safety Goals and Accomplishments


The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is committed to reducing transportation risks to the public and environment.  PHMSA has been providing strong safety and environmental oversight of the pipeline network that delivers energy fuels to the American public.  This oversight has focused on high-risk infrastructure issues, including a specific concern regarding the need to accelerate the repair, rehabilitation or replacement of certain high-risk pipeline infrastructure.

Under the leadership of Secretary LaHood, PHMSA has developed a comprehensive action plan to accelerate the rehabilitation, repair, and replacement of high-risk pipeline infrastructure. It has engaged pipeline safety stakeholders in the process to address parts of the pipeline infrastructure that need attention, and ensure that Americans remain confident in the safety of their families, homes, and communities.  The strategy includes:

  • Call to Action - U.S. DOT/PHMSA announced a “Call to Action,” actively engaging its state partners, technical experts, pipeline operators, safety advocates, and the public to focus on identifying pipeline risks and repairing, rehabilitating, and replacing the highest risk infrastructure to ensure they are fit for service.
  • Aggressive Efforts - U.S. DOT/PHMSA hosted a Pipeline Safety Forum on April 18, 2011 to engage all stakeholders about the actions that U.S. DOT/PHMSA, States, and industry can take to raise the bar on pipeline safety; and the challenges to implementing these actions.  During the week of July 18, 2011, PHMSA hosted a series of technical meetings on challenges associated with seam failure, pipeline risk assessments, and record keeping.  PHMSA also hosted a meeting of Public Safety and Emergency Response Officials on December 9, 2011 to discuss pipeline emergency preparedness and emergency response.
  • Transparency - U.S. DOT/PHMSA is executing this plan in a transparent manner with continuing opportunities for public engagement, including the creation of a dedicated website for this initiative.

STRONG LEGISLATION - PHMSA drafted an Administration legislative initiative for program reauthorization entitled, “Strengthening Pipeline Safety and Enforcement Act of 2010 (Act).”  The proposal led to the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011, which was signed into law by President Obama on January 3, 2012, and provides a number of strong pipeline safety measures, including:

  • increases the maximum administrative civil penalties from $100,000 per day/$1 million for a series of violations to $200,000 per day/$2 million for a series of violations;
  • grants authority, for the first time, to enforce oil spill response plans required of pipeline operators under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990;
  • requires technical studies and analysis of leak detection systems, diluted bitumen, and excavation damage on pipeline safety;  
  • requires new regulations for the use of automatic or remotely controlled shut-off valves on new or replaced transmission pipelines;
  • requires new regulations for tests to confirm material strength of previously untested gas transmission pipelines in high consequence areas (HCAs);
  • requires regulations to confirm appropriate records to confirm maximum allowable operating pressures on gas transmission pipelines in highly populated or high consequence areas;
  • requires a review of whether integrity management regulations should be expanded outside of high consequence areas;
  • requires a review and report to Congress on existing Federal and State regulations for all types of gathering pipelines;
  • requires a survey of the nation’s progress in replacing cast iron gas pipelines;
  • requires actions to increase state and local emergency responder awareness of the National Pipeline Mapping System;
  • limits incorporation by reference into regulation of any document that is not made publicly available free of charge on the internet website; and
  • provides for consultation with and technical assistance for Indian tribes regarding the regulation of pipelines subject to tribe jurisdiction.

AGGRESSIVE REGULATORY INITIATIVES – Through rulemakings and actions taken since 2008, PHMSA has closed a record fifteen National Transportation Safety Board NTSB safety recommendations, addressing leak detection systems, excess flow valves, human fatigue, and internal operations of pipeline companies’ control rooms, and the distribution integrity management program (DIMP).  

PHMSA conducted a thorough review of its inspection and enforcement related regulations and operations, as well as its data collection and transparency, and has taken the following actions:

Late 2012/Early 2013

Will issue NPRMs strengthening hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipeline oversight.

 Fall 2012

 NPRM to update Hazardous Liquid regulations.

August 2012

NPRM published to incorporate into regulation the Act increase in PHMSA’s civil penalties authority.

July 31, 2012

Advisory Bulletin issued to alert all pipeline operators of the circumstances of the June 19, 2009 Canadian National Railway company freight train derailment in Cherry Valley, Illinois and remind them of the importance of assuring that pipeline facilities have not been damaged either during a railroad accident or other event occurring in the right-of-way.  Further, the advisory bulletin reminds pipeline owners and operators of the importance of providing pertinent information to rail operators and emergency response officials during an incident.

July 18-19, 2012

Hosted Research and Development Public Forum to identify gaps in needed pipeline technology and map a path forward to assure no unnecessary duplications and appropriately-leveraged resources.

July 5, 2012

Information Collection Activity published to survey and request for comments to gauge the effectiveness of PHMSA 811 “Call Before You Dig” public awareness campaign materials.

June 27, 2012

Public workshop was held to review the first year implementation of Distribution Integrity Management Program regulations and share lessons learned between Federal/State regulators and industry.

June 2012

Advisory Bulletin issued to owners and operators of gas distribution pipeline facilities to provide clarification when completing the Mechanical Fitting Failure Report Form, PHMSA F 7100.1-2.

May 2012

Advisory Bulletin issued to remind operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipeline facilities to verify their records relating to operating specifications for maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) required by 49 CFR 192.517 and maximum operating pressure (MOP) required by 49 CFR 195.310. This advisory bulletin follows-up on issues identified in the San Bruno incident investigation.

April 2012

Information Collection Notice to revise gas transmission annual report to collect information relating to operator record verification of maximum allowable operating pressures and piggability of pipelines

April 2012

 

NPRM published proposing to establish criteria and procedures for determining the adequacy of state pipeline excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs; establish an administrative process for making adequacy determinations; establish the federal requirements PHMSA will enforce in states with inadequate excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs; and establish the adjudication process for administrative enforcement proceedings against excavators where federal authority is exercised. The development of these criteria and the subsequent determination of the adequacy of state excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs is intended to encourage states to develop effective excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs to protect the public from the risk of pipeline ruptures caused by excavation damage, and allow for federal administrative enforcement action in states with inadequate enforcement programs. 

March 2012

Advisory Bulletin issued to alert operators using Driscopipe® 8000 High Density Polyethylene Pipe (Drisco8000) of the potential for material degradation.

March 2012

Advisory Bulletin issued to owners and operators of pipeline facilities notifying them of PHMSA's plan for implementing the national registry of pipeline and liquefied natural gas operators.

March 2012

Advisory Bulletin issued to owners and operators of natural gas cast iron distribution pipelines and state pipeline safety representatives urging owners and operators to conduct a comprehensive review of their cast iron distribution pipelines and replacement programs and accelerate pipeline repair, rehabilitation, and replacement of high-risk pipelines.

February 2012

Advisory Bulletin issued to remind operators of pipelines and Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) facilities of the need to conduct post-accident drug and alcohol testing of all potentially involved personnel regardless of the circumstances of the accident.

January 2012

Advisory Bulletin issued to advise owners and operators of pipeline facilities of the implementation of the national registry of pipeline and liquefied natural gas operators.

December 2011

DOT conducted an Emergency Responder Forum to initiate the development of an action plan for improving emergency responders’ awareness of and capability to respond to pipeline emergencies.

December 2011
February 2012
May 2012

PHMSA hosted a series of State Pipeline Legal Forums to provide information to its state enforcement partners on how PHMSA can assist them with enforcement matters pertaining to pipeline operators.

November 2011

ANPRM published seeking public comment on issues relating to the expanded use of excess flow valves (EFVs) in gas distribution systems serving other than single family residences.

November 2011

NPRM published proposing to make miscellaneous changes to the pipeline safety regulations. The proposed changes would correct errors, address inconsistencies, and respond to rulemaking petitions.

September 2011

Advisory Bulletin issued to remind owners and operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines of the potential for damage to pipeline facilities caused by hurricanes.

August 2011

ANPRM published seeking public comment on whether gas transmission integrity management (IM) requirements should be strengthened, including adding more prescriptive language in some areas, and whether other issues related to system integrity should be addressed by strengthening or expanding non-IM requirements.  The comment period closed January 20, 2012 and PHMSA is preparing a NPRM.

July 2011

Advisory Bulletin issued to all owners and operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines to communicate the potential for damage to pipeline facilities caused by severe flooding.

July 2011

Conducted a Risk Assessment and Records Retention Workshop relating to the San Bruno incident.

June 2011

Final Rule published which expedited the program implementation deadlines in the Control Room Management/Human Factors regulations in order to realize the safety benefits sooner than established in the original rule.

May 2011

Advisory Bulletin issued advising owners and operators of gas transmission and gathering systems and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities that they have until August 15, 2011, to submit their Calendar Year 2010 Annual Reports. This document also provided guidance for Calendar Year 2010 National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) submissions.

February 2011

Final Rule published revising the pipeline safety regulations to clarify the types of pipeline fittings involved in the compression coupling failure information collection; changes the term "compression coupling" to "mechanical fitting," aligns a threat category with the annual report; and clarifies the Excess Flow Valve (EFV) metric to be reported by operators of gas systems. This rule also announced the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval of the revised Distribution Annual Report and a new Mechanical Fitting Failure Report. Finally, this rulemaking clarified the key dates for the collection and submission of the new Mechanical Fitting Failure Report.

February 2011

Advisory Bulletin issued advising owners and operators of petroleum gas and natural gas facilities of the need to take the appropriate steps to prevent damage to pipeline facilities from accumulated snow or ice.

January 2011

Advisory Bulletin issued to remind pipeline operators to perform detailed risk analyses that integrate accurate pipeline data and information when calculating Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP), and to utilize those risk analyses to identify integrity threats and preventive measures, as a result of the San Bruno incident.

January 2011

Final Rule published to improve data collection from operators of pipelines and liquefied natural gas facilities.

December 2010

Final Rule published to regulate the remaining population of unregulated rural hazardous liquid low stress pipelines, which was required by the PIPES Act of 2006.

November 2010

Final Rule published to require electronic filing of all reports and standardize reporting by operators.

November 2010

Advisory Bulletin issued to remind pipeline operators of the requirement to share their emergency response plans with emergency response officials.

September 2010

Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) published to consider eliminating regulatory exemptions in oversight of hazardous liquid pipelines.  In addition, PHMSA sought comments on whether other areas along a pipeline should be identified for extra protection; whether to establish minimum leak detection requirements for all pipelines; whether to require emergency flow restricting devices in certain areas; whether revised valve spacing requirements are needed; whether repair timeframes should be specified for pipelines outside high consequence areas (HCAs); and whether to establish and/or adopt standards and procedures for improving the methods of preventing, detecting, and remediating stress corrosion cracking.  The comment period closed February 18, 2010.  PHMSA is preparing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

August 2010

Advisory Bulletin issued to pipeline operators that addresses the use of personal electronic devices by individuals while performing pipeline safety functions.

June 2010

Advisory Bulletin issued to operators of hazardous liquid pipeline facilities requiring them to prepare and submit an updated oil spill response plan in light of Deepwater Horizon incident’s demands and concerns.

March 2010

Advisory Bulletin issued to notify owners and operators of recently constructed large diameter natural gas pipeline and hazardous liquid pipeline systems of the potential for girth weld failures due to welding quality issues.

January 2010

Advisory Bulletin issued to require hazardous liquid pipeline operators to implement prompt and effective leak detection systems.

December 2009

Final Rule published to address human factors and other aspects of control room management (CRM) for pipelines where controllers use computerized or automated supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems to encourage the safe operations of pipeline systems. This rule originally was to be fully implemented in 2013, but was expedited in May 2011.

December 2009

Final Rule published to require operators of gas distribution pipelines to develop and implement integrity management programs similar to those required for gas transmission and hazardous liquid pipelines.  This rule took effect in August 2011.

EFFECTIVE ENFORCEMENT – PHMSA has significantly increased its inspection and enforcement personnel with a 38% increase in staffing since 2008.  As a result, PHMSA has been able to reduce its enforcement case backlog by closing 872 cases, issuing 323 Final Orders, and collecting over $29.5 million in civil penalties.  Recognizing that expediting our enforcement process is important to ensure operators promptly correct non-compliances and to facilitate timely analysis of enforcement data, PHMSA undertook a number of initiatives to speed up pipeline enforcement, including developing monthly case timing reports that compiled metrics of progress in processing cases for each enforcement step and establishing target times for key enforcement steps.  As a result of these initiatives:

  • The average number of days awaiting a decision on petition for reconsideration has also dropped off sharply by 73%, from 563 days in 2009 to 157 cases as of August 2012.
  • The cases pending action in the region offices has reduced by 9%, from 167 cases in 2009 to 153 cases as of August 2012.
  • The cases pending in PHMSA’s docket has reduced by 68%, from 127 at the beginning of 2009 to only 41 cases as of August 2012.
  • PHMSA reversed a years-long trend of increasing times between initiating an enforcement case to issuing a Final Order for cases alleging a pipeline safety violation and that included a proposed civil penalty and/or a proposed Compliance Order. The yearly average has dropped by 55%, from 737 days in 2009 to 330 days so far in 2012.
  • PHMSA has also reduced by 33% the average number of days between initiating an enforcement case and closing the case, going from 837 days in 2009 to 564 days so far in 2012.
  • Since 2008, PHMSA has increased the number of Final Orders issued, going from 41 orders in 2008 to 103 orders in 2011.

PHMSA has taken aggressive action to deal with a number of pipeline accidents to ensure that operators take prompt and effective actions to correct hazardous conditions and to ensure that operators are held accountable for compliance with safety laws.  Recent actions include:

July – August 2012

On July 5, 2012, PHMSA issued a Notice of Probable Violation to Enbridge Energy, alleging 22 pipeline safety violations and seeking a record $3.7 million administrative civil penalty for a failure that occurred on the company’s Lakehead Pipeline near Marshall, Michigan, in July 2010.  The failure resulted in one of the country’s largest inland crude oil spills and contaminated roughly 38 miles of the Kalamazoo River.  Two years later, in July 2012, Enbridge suffered another serious oil spill on the Lakehead Pipeline in Wisconsin.  PHMSA took swift action by issuing a Corrective Action Order to Enbridge and by securing an agreement by the company to develop a comprehensive plan to address various safety problems on the entire 1,900-mile Lakehead system.

July 2012

Reestablishing a process with federal agencies Department of Justice (DOJ) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to discuss corresponding jurisdictions over pipeline safety.

June 2012

Issued Notices of Probable Violation (NOPV) to Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, Rockies Express Pipeline, LLC for deficiencies found on their REX pipeline and for failure to abide by the terms of a special permit granted by PHMSA. The Notices will lead to orders requiring Kinder Morgan to take corrective actions to improve their inspection of welds, nondestructive weld testing and removal of defects from their system. The Notice also proposes a total of over $1 million in civil penalties.

May 2012

PHMSA reached a settlement with Marathon Pipe Line, LLC, in a case arising out of a 2009 accident at the company’s St. James Terminal near Garyville, Louisiana.  During a repair project, a Marathon contractor ignited hazardous vapors in a crude oil sump, causing an explosion that resulted in one fatality and three injuries.  In the consent agreement, Marathon agreed to pay a penalty of $842,650, take certain compliance actions, and spend at least $305,000 on a supplemental safety project aimed at reducing the risk of similar accidents in the future.

December 2011     February 2012        May 2012

PHMSA hosted a series State Pipeline Legal Forums to provide information to its state enforcement partners on how PHMSA can assist them with enforcement matters pertaining to pipeline operators.

May 2011

Issued a Corrective Action Order to BP Exploration (Alaska), Inc., (BPXA) for a spill on the North Slope of Alaska on March 15, 2006. BPXA experienced another spill on the North Slope in August 2006. As a result of the spills and violations of the Corrective Action Order, PHMSA and the EPA referred the matter to the Department of Justice for judicial enforcement. In March 2009, the U.S. filed suit against BPXA alleging violations of the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the federal Pipeline Safety Laws and seeking civil penalties and injunctive relief. In July 2011, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska approved a consent decree among the parties in which BPXA agreed to pay a combined $25 million civil penalty for violations of the various statutes. The government allocated $4.5 million of the penalty for violations of the Pipeline Safety Laws. This is in addition to the approximately $200 million that BPXA had already spent replacing the lines that leaked on the North Slope.  The penalty is the largest per-barrel penalty PHMSA has ever issued for an oil spill.

July 2011

Issued a Corrective Action Order to ExxonMobil after a failure on its pipeline crossing the Yellowstone River in Montana.  The order required ExxonMobil to replace the pipeline under the river and review the other Silvertip Pipeline river crossings.  PHMSA’s accident investigation is still ongoing.

February 2011

Issued a Notice of Proposed Safety Order to Alyeska after a leak on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System on January 8, 2011. The Notice led to a Consent Order requiring them to take corrective measures, including replacing certain piping, evaluating the need for increased tank capacity at pump stations, revising its “Cold Restart Plan,” and proving the plan’s feasibility. The operator continues to work towards full compliance with this order.

December 2010

Issued a Corrective Action Order to address two separate incidents that occurred on the Chevron pipeline in Salt Lake City.  The Order required Chevron to repair all of the facilities affected by its June 2010 hydrostatic pressure test performed after the first incident. The operator continues to work towards full compliance with this order.

November 2010

Issued a Notice of Proposed Safety Order to ONEOK NGL Pipeline, L.P. after a pipeline failure that had occurred on November 1, 2010 in Oklahoma.  The Notice led to a Safety Order requiring ONEOK to review previous inline inspection data, identify areas where accelerated corrosion may be occurring, and remediate those areas. The operator is continuing to work towards full compliance with this order.

September 2010

Issued a Final Amended Corrective Action Order to Enbridge after the discovery of a leak on the Lakehead System.  The Order required Enbridge to conduct a comprehensive review of the operating history of the line and prescribed further inspections, testing, and repairs within and beyond the immediate failure area, and specifically ordered the replacement of pipeline under the St. Clair River in Michigan. The operator is continuing to work towards full compliance with this order.

September 2010

Issued a Notice of Proposed Safety Order to Columbia Gas Transmission LLC (CGT) after a failure of a pipeline transporting natural gas that occurred on September 9, 2010 in Ohio.  The notice led to a Safety Order requiring CGT to develop and implement a remedial plan on corrosion procedures and perform appropriate permanent repairs. The operator has since complied with all ordered actions and the case was closed on December 12, 2011.

FOCUSED SAFETY EFFORTS – PHMSA focused resources to address identified and emerging safety concerns.  Examples include:

Secretary LaHood’s Call to Action to Address High Risk Pipeline Infrastructure:
Throughout 2011 and 2012
  • April 2011 – Pipeline Safety Awareness Forum – Formal announcement of the Secretary’s Call to Action.
  • July 2012 - Held pipeline modernization press conference in Columbus, OH to highlight the replacement of aging pipelines.
  • June 2012 and July 2012 - Participated in the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Summer Committee meetings to urge state regulators to consider the safety implications of rate decisions versus replacement programs for high risk pipeline infrastructure.
  • April 2012 - Held a press conference in Pittsburgh, PA to announce NiSource, Inc.’s $4 billion pipeline modernization project spanning six states.
  • March 2011 - Secretary LaHood met with FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff.
  • March 29, 2011 and March 27, 2012 - Secretarial meetings with oil and gas pipeline industry executives.
  • April 2011 and May 2012 - Sent letter to each State Governor requesting the status of their replacement programs for high risk infrastructure such as cast iron pipeline systems.
  • March 2011 and May 2012 - Sent letters to the State Regulatory Commissioners and State Pipeline Safety Commissions.
  • 2011/2012 - Participated in National Association of Pipeline Safety Representative regional and annual meetings.
  • 2011 - Established pipeline safety awareness website focused on repair, rehabilitation, or replacement of high risk infrastructure.
Exxon Mobil Crude Oil Spill into Yellowstone River:
Throughout 2011 and 2012
  • Following the July 1, 2011 Exxon Mobil crude oil release into the Yellowstone River, PHMSA inspectors conducted specialized inspections and data collection activities to determine the status of other petroleum pipelines that cross major waterways in or enter into Montana.  
  • PHMSA teamed with the MT Governor’s task force on pipeline river crossings. 
  • After completion of the field investigation, PHMSA proceeded with the inspection of the remedial activities of all crossings that were at risk.
PG&E San Bruno, CA Incident & Enbridge Marshall, MI Accident Follow-up:
Throughout 2011 and 2012
  • Following the San Bruno tragedy, PHMSA conducted Integrity Management Program inspections (or re-inspection) of all PHMSA regulated gas transmission lines in California. 
  • March 2012 - Pipeline Valve Type and Placement & Leak Detection Forum to follow-up on issues identify in San Bruno and Marshall, MI incidents.
  • July 2011 - Risk Assessment and Records Retention Workshop focused on issues identified during investigation of the incidents by both PHMSA and NTSB.
  • PHMSA is assisting the California Public Utilities Commission (CAPUC) with a various inspections of Pacific Gas & Electric pipeline facilities; and review of its programs, including:
    • Distribution Integrity Management Inspection - December 10-14, 2012
    • Control Room Management - October 22-26, 2012
    • Standard Inspection Kettleman District and Compressor Station - October 8-10, 2012
    • Transmission Integrity Management - August 27-31, 2012 and September 10-14, 2012
    • Operator Qualification - July 30 - August 3, 2012
    • Operation, Maintenance, and Emergency Response Plans - February 13-17, 2012
    • Public Awareness Effectiveness - November 1-3, 2011
  • PHMSA has provided extensive training to current and new CAPUC inspector personnel.  Federal and State personnel are trained together at PHMSA’s Training and Qualification center in Oklahoma City, OK.
Emergency Responder Outreach Program:
Throughout  2011 and 2012
  • Working with the National Association of State Fire Marshalls and the U.S. Fire Administration/National Fire Academy to identify ways to get pipeline related information and training resources out to emergency responders.
  • 2012 – Hosted Georgia emergency response working group which will serve as a state-wide pilot program in the effort to improve communication and training between emergency responders and pipeline operator. May serve as a model for use by other states.
  • 2012 - Established a Pipeline Emergency Response Working Group comprised of a cross-section of stakeholders to institutionalize emergency responder training into existing processes and systems. The group is co-chaired by an emergency responder and industry leads.  The group is also developing a resource guide for use by emergency responders and pipeline operators.
  • Published two feature articles in emergency responder publications as part of pipeline education and outreach (Fire Rescue and Fire Chief magazines).
  • Engaged the National Academy of Science/Transportation Research Board study to look identify how to improve communications and information sharing between emergency responders and pipeline operators
  • December 2011 – DOT hosted an Emergency Responder Forum to initiate the development of an action plan for improving emergency responders’ ability to prepare for and respond to pipeline emergencies.
Oil Spill Program
Throughout 2012
  • Refocused agency attention on facility response plans (FRP’s), identifying and addressing gaps.
  • Allocated two additional full-time staff for review of FRP plans.
  • Established interagency working group, including Coast Guard and EPA, to review and coordinate on oil spill response programs.  The focus of the group included communications, coordination on the effectiveness of operator plans.
  • Developed a mechanism to quickly transmit FRPs and other critical information to the Federal On Scene Coordinator rapidly and securely in response to a pipeline incident.
  • Participated in a multi-agency review of Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (PREP) guidelines.
  • Revised all FRP evaluation criteria to better reflect DOT/PHMSA regulatory requirements.
  • Developed an IT system to automate and standardize the evaluation criteria for FRP review.
  • Instituted multiple stage reviews of operators’ FRP’s to improve conformity with the practices of other agencies.
  • Improved the use of FRP criteria for evaluation of oil spill exercises to ensure the inclusion of the elements of the incident command system.
  • Trained regional and legal staff on FRP review criteria and the technology tool used to manage the FRP approval process.
Distribution Integrity Management Program
Throughout 2011 and 2012
  • June 27, 2012 - Public workshop to review the first year implementation of Distribution Integrity Management Program regulations and share lessons learned between Federal/State regulators and industry.
  • PHMSA trained State inspectors, helped develop state inspection forms, FAQs, and inspection guidance for implementing DIMP, and performed pilot inspections to validate and enhance inspection forms and guidance.
Enbridge Wisconsin Crude Oil Incident Follow-up
July/August 2012
  • A meeting is planned between Enbridge senior leadership and PHMSA on September 5, to review and discuss specific actions required under the Lakehead Plan.
  • August 2012 - Required Enbridge Energy to submit a comprehensive safety plan for entire Lakehead system as a condition of restart for Line 14 in WI.
  • July 2012 - Prohibited Enbridge Energy from restarting pipeline in WI until safety plan submitted.

ROBUST STATE PARTNERSHIP – PHMSA increased its funding to state pipeline safety partners, and is covering 72 percent of state pipeline safety program costs, totaling approximately $42.5 million for 2011.  Since 2002, PHMSA has spent over $8 million to train local first responders to safely respond to pipeline emergencies and develop a comprehensive web-based training library.  In addition to training all State and Federal pipeline inspectors on protocols, PHMSA works with the National Association of State Pipeline Safety Representatives to develop and provide national, regional, and State training.  When incidents occur, PHMSA works closely with responding state and federal officials to determine the impact to the public and to provide as much investigative, legal, and technical assistance as necessary.  Recent examples include:

Alaska

PHMSA assisted in the aftermath of a release on the North Slope involving a pipeline regulated by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

California

 

PHMSA provided legal guidance, on-scene investigation support, and continuing technical support related to the San Bruno incident.  PHMSA joined with California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) to inspect the failed operator’s risk assessment plan and public awareness program it is currently working to schedule additional inspections of PG&E in conjunction with the CPUC. 

Mississippi

To address significant safety issues on a municipal pipeline regulated by Mississippi, PHMSA informally consulted with the state pipeline safety office and the operator to draft the terms of a consent agreement to resolve certain safety issues, including replacing steel mains, valves, meters, regulators, and odor bottle installations.

North Carolina

PHMSA provided assistance to the North Carolina pipeline safety program for review of welding of a new pipeline under construction.

Pennsylvania

Assisted State pipeline safety inspectors with a DIMP inspection following a tragic pipeline incident in Allentown.  PHMSA also provided technical assistance to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania following cast iron pipeline failures which resulted in fatalities in Allentown and Philadelphia

Puerto Rico

PHMSA responded to an oil pipeline discharge outside San Juan, and helped clarify jurisdictional issues between the Coast Guard, PHMSA, and Puerto Rico. PHMSA also assisted in preparing violation notices and collecting evidence.

ADDITIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • 2012 - PHMSA supported several damage prevention initiatives, including an “811 Call Before You Dig” public awareness campaign—which features the agency’s first ever public service announcement—and awarding 34 state damage prevention grants for about $3 million.  Expanded 811 and other outreach efforts in FY12 both on the Web, through social media and via public service awareness activities such as legal forums, workshops and training.
  • March 2012 - Awarded contract to the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on the effect of diluted bitumen crude oil in pipelines.
  • July 18-19, 2012 – Held a Research and Development Public Forum to identify gaps in needed pipeline safety technology and map a path forward to identify and remove unnecessary duplications and appropriately leveraged resources.
  • August 2012 - Held pipeline safety press conference and demonstration with first responders and Washington Gas to promote the use of 811 and safe digging.
  • PHMSA published fifty recommendations to help local governments, zoning officials, real estate developers, and community planners better plan projects in areas near transmission pipelines.  These recommendations were detailed in the report prepared by the Pipeline and Informed Planning Alliance titled Partnering to Further Enhance Pipeline Safety in Communities through Risk-Informed Land Use Planning.
  • October 2012 – Will conduct a Data and Performance Measures Public Workshop to identify gaps between available and needed data, the use of the data to evaluate safety performance and identify emergency safety trends.  A significant portion of the workshop will focus on meaningful performance metrics and voluntary reporting.
  • As part of President Obama’s Executive Order 13604 to Improve Performance of Federal Permitting and Review of Infrastructure Projects, DOT announced its support for a 1,000 mile gas pipeline modernization project by NiSource, Inc.
  • The President’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget request to Congress includes a 60 percent increase in funding above Fiscal Year 2012 for pipeline safety in America. These dollars will help improve safety and increase accountability by hiring more inspectors, increasing coordination with states, and educating the public.