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Pipeline Safety Reauthorization Bill Introduced

Posted By IAMU, Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Earlier this month, bipartisan legislation that would reauthorize the Pipeline Safety Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate. The bill, entitled the “Securing America’s Future Energy: Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act” is also known by the somewhat more concise “Safe PIPES Act.” 

Several key provisions of The Safe PIPES Act include:

  •   Reauthorizes the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration from fiscal year 2016 through FY 2019 and authorizes appropriations to the Department of Transportation (DOT).
  •   Requires DOT to submit a report to the Commerce Committee every 90 days regarding the status of implementation of regulations required under the Pipeline Safety Regulatory Certainty and Job Creation Act of 2011.
  • Requires DOT to conduct a one-year study, in consultation with stakeholders, on improving damage prevention through technology improvements in location and communications practices to prevent accidental excavation damage.
  • PHMSA must submit a report to Congress addressing the hiring challenges they are facing and making recommendations to address hiring challenges, training needs, and any other identified staff resource challenges.
  • Within 18 months of passage of the bill, DOE must submit a report to Congress on the feasibility of a national integrated pipeline safety regulatory inspection database to improve communication and collaboration between PMHSA and State pipeline regulators.  The report shall include:
  •  an analysis of the extent to which the natural gas integrity management program under section 60109(c) of title 49, United States Code, has improved the safety of natural gas transmission pipelines;
  • an analysis or recommendations regarding changes to the program that would prevent inadvertent releases from pipelines and mitigate any adverse consequences of an inadvertent release, including changes to the current definition of high consequence area, or would expand integrity management beyond high consequence areas;
  • a review of the cost effectiveness of the legacy class location regulations;
  • an analysis of and recommendations regarding what impact the age of a pipeline should have on risk analysis of a particular pipeline;
  • a description of any challenges affecting Federal or State regulators in their oversight of the program and how the challenges are being addressed; and
  • a description of any challenges affecting the natural gas industry in complying with the program, and how the challenges are being addressed.
  • Within two years of passage, DOT, in coordination with other federal agencies, must issue minimum uniform safety standards for the operation, environmental protection, and integrity management of underground natural gas storage facilities.

Here is a link to the proposed bill.

Tags:  Gas  Pipeline Safety Bill  Safe PIPES Act 

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