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USDOT Announces $12.5M in Pipeline Safety

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has recently announced the availability of $12.5 million in grant opportunities regarding safety awareness, training, research and other activities associated with hazardous materials and pipeline infrastructure.

“These grants support localized activities and provide communities with the resources they need to develop solutions to very serious safety issues,” said PHMSA Administrator Skip Elliott.  “All eligible entities are encouraged to apply in order to help safely move hazardous materials across the country.”

About the Grants

Offered to state, tribal, non-profit and community-based organizations every year, the PHMSA grants serve as an effort to promote safety programs for the nation’s 2.8-million-mile pipeline network and hazardous materials transportation system.

In the past, PHMSA reports that its grant program has helped to train first responders, educate the public on local safety initiatives, develop and commercialize new technologies and has even funded participation in regulatory oversight activities.

imantsu / Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has recently announced the availability of $12.5 million in grant opportunities regarding safety awareness, training, research and other activities associated with hazardous materials and pipeline infrastructure.

This year, PHMSA will offer $12.5 million in total funding. However, the opportunities vary and include:

  • A combined $1.5 million through its Technical Assistance Grant program for projects that will foster open communication and address pipeline safety and environmental issues;
  • $1 million through its Community Safety Grant program for projects that can supply the best training and outreach activities to help local communities prepare for hazardous materials accidents and incidents involving the transportation of Class 3 flammable liquids;
  • $1 million in Pipeline Safety One-Call grants;
  • $1.5 million in Pipeline Safety State Damage Prevention grants;
  • $2 million in Pipeline Safety Competitive Academic Agreement Program awards;
  • $700,000 in Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Tribal grants;
  • $3.8 million in Hazardous Materials Instructor Training grants; and
  • $1 million in Hazardous Materials Supplemental Public-Sector Training grants.

However, grants will also be available for Assistance for Hazardous Materials Local Emergency Response Training (ALERT), Hazardous Materials Supplemental Public Sector Training (SPST), State Pipeline Safety Base Grants, Underground Natural Gas Storage Grants, and Pipeline Research and Development.

While the number of grant recipients will depend on how many grant applications are received, all recipients will be required to provide a report of completion to PHMSA within a year of their project’s conclusion.

“These grants will help communities to improve their pipeline and hazardous materials safety efforts,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Application acceptance deadlines vary for the grant opportunities, but can be viewed on grants.gov.

Previous Pipeline Safety Efforts

In 2016, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bipartisan bill supporting the pipeline safety agency of the Department of Transportation and establishing safety standards for natural gas storage facilities.

The Securing America’s Future Energy: Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (SAFE PIPES) Act, reauthorized PHSMA's Office of Pipeline Safety to oversee the safety of pipelines that transport natural gas or hazardous liquids through 2019.

For example, because PHMSA’s slow regulatory process was previously criticized by lawmakers, the Act requires PHMSA to reprioritize and complete outstanding mandates from the 2011 reauthorization bill before undertaking new rulemakings.

Years later in 2019, Chao announced three new pipeline safety rules intended to bolster the safety of more than 500,000 miles of both onshore gas transmission and hazardous liquid pipelines.

According to PHMSA, the new pipeline safety rules “modernize federal pipeline safety standards by expanding risk-based integrity management requirements, enhancing procedures to protect infrastructure from extreme weather events and requiring greater oversight of pipelines beyond current safety requirements.”

The rules include:

  • The gas transmission rule, which requires that operators of gas transmission pipelines that date prior to 1970 get a reading on the material strength of the infrastructure by reconfirming the Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure, along with the rule also updating record retention standards for the gas pipelines;
  • The hazardous liquid rule, which encourages operators to use data to better assess pipeline safety threats and has operators inspect the relevant energy infrastructure after a significant weather event for damage; and
  • The “Enhanced Emergency Order Procedures” final rule, which has adopted the provisions of a 2016 interim final rule that “established temporary emergency order procedures in accordance with a provision of the ‘Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016,’ according to PHMSA.

Prior to PHMSA offering pipeline and hazardous materials safety grants, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced more than $900 million in grants through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grants program had been made available.

   

Tagged categories: Department of Transportation (DOT); Funding; Government; Grants; hazardous materials; Hazardous waste; Hazards; Health & Safety; Health and safety; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Pipelines; Safety

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