Two years later, PHMSA keeps moving on Pipeline Safety Act
Pipelines are an important part of our transportation infrastructure. They span 2.6 million miles nationwide, moving energy products like natural gas and petroleum from wells to refineries to consumers like you.
DOT's Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration safeguards these pipelines by, among other things, issuing and enforcing regulations. Two years ago, the Pipeline Safety Act of 2011 was signed into law. That Act gave PHMSA the ability to hold pipeline operators more accountable by authorizing the agency to double maximum penalties for violations. It also required us to meet 42 mandates to strengthen pipeline safety and oversight. By the end of 2013, PHMSA had completed half of those mandates.
Because the more you know, the safer you are, PHMSA remains committed to transparency. That's why, last year, we published a Pipeline Safety Act progress chart, where anyone can track our implementation progress section by section.
And, as we mark the law's two-year anniversary, we encourage all pipeline safety stakeholders –that includes you– to take a look at how PHMSA maintained Pipeline Safety Act momentum throughout 2013.
For example, in March, after hosting a forum with commonly-exempted pipeline operators and agencies, we nullified state and local exemptions as part of our newly-adopted standards for state One Call grants. And in August, we proposed updated rules to double fines for operators that violated safety regulations after the Act’s signing on January 3, 2012. By September 25, the new rules were officially adopted. Those are just two steps of the many taken in 2013.
In 2014, you can expect to see even more action from us on Pipeline Safety Act mandates, but we need your input as well. Safety is a shared responsibility, so stay abreast of what’s going on by subscribing to related announcements on the Federal Register and following @PHMSA_DOT on Twitter for Pipeline Safety Act updates throughout the year.
Cynthia Quarterman is Administrator of the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.