DOT Announces Pipeline Safety Rules


Early last week, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. 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.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration released the rules to the Federal Register early last week.

“These are significant revisions to federal pipeline safety laws and will improve the safety of our nation’s energy infrastructure,” said Chao.

PHMSA Pipeline Rules

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.”

These rules are an expansion on Congressional mandates that date back to the Pipeline Safety Act in 2011, along with recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board.

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.

“The tremendous growth in U.S. energy production will require greater anticipation and preparation for emerging risks to public safety,” said PHMSA Administrator Skip Elliott.

“These forward-looking rules will help ensure pipeline operators invest in continuous improvements to pipeline safety and integrity management.”

All three rules will be published on the Federal Record today (Oct. 1).


Tagged categories: Government; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Oil and Gas; Pipelines; Program/Project Management; Safety

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