Federal pipeline regulators have awarded 22 states nearly $1.6 million to tackle the deadly problem of pipeline excavation damage.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which regulates the U.S.’s 2.6 million miles of pipeline, announced the grants this week to strengthen and support state pipeline damage prevention programs.
|Excavation damage to U.S. pipelines has killed 38 people and caused $190 million in property damage since 2002.|
The awards range from $16,379 for the Arkansas Public Service Commission to $100,000 million each for the Mississippi Public Utilities Commission and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
Excavation damage to pipelines has resulted in 38 deaths, 148 injuries, and more than $190 million in property damage in the last 10 years, according to PHMSA.
“Many of these incidents are preventable, and our state partners are working hard to spread the safe-digging message,” the agency said.
The Pipeline Inspection, Protection, Enforcement and Safety Act of 2006 outlines nine elements of an effective damage prevention program; the new grants are aimed at helping states implement those elements.
“Pipeline damage prevention is a key component of protecting people and the environment,” said PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman. “These grants will help states continue to focus on preventing pipeline accidents through education, training and enforcement.”
The grants are the latest action in the Obama Administration’s stepped-up oversight of pipeline safety. The new measures follow tougher pipeline safety regulations as part of the Pipeline Safety Act signed by President Obama in January.