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Legislative Authority
Two statutes provide the framework for the Federal pipeline safety program. The Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 as amended (NGPSA) authorizes the Department to regulate pipeline transportation of natural (flammable, toxic, or corrosive) gas and other gases as well as the transportation and storage of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Similarly, the Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Act of 1979 as amended (HLPSA) authorizes the Department to regulate pipeline transportation of hazardous liquids (crude oil, petroleum products, anhydrous ammonia, and carbon dioxide). Both of these Acts have been recodified as 49 U.S.C. Chapter 601.
Regulations

The Federal pipeline safety regulations (1) assure safety in design, construction, inspection, testing, operation, and maintenance of pipeline facilities and in the siting, construction, operation, and maintenance of LNG facilities; (2) sets out parameters for administering the pipeline safety program; and (3) delineate requirements for onshore oil pipeline response plans. The regulations are written as minimum performance standards. State Pipeline Safety programs adopt the federal regulations and may issue more stringent regulations for intrastate pipeline operators under state law. The regulations are published in the Code of Federal Regulations, 49 CFR Parts 190-199:

190 -- Enforcement procedures
191 -- Natural gas reporting requirements
192 -- Natural gas
193 -- Liquefied natural gas
194 -- Response plans for onshore oil pipelines
195 -- Hazardous liquids
198 -- State grants
199 -- Drug and alcohol testing
NAPSR

Federal Grant Program

PHMSA is authorized to reimburse a state agency up to 80 percent of the agency's actual cost for carrying out its pipeline safety program, including the cost of personnel and equipment. The actual amount of federal reimbursement depends upon the availability of appropriated funds and the state's pipeline safety program's performance. A state agency's program performance is based on PHMSA's annual Program Evaluation and Progress Report scoring of each state agency. The Program Evaluation considers a state's performance in achieving established goals for pipeline safety programs set by PHMSA. The Program Evaluation includes an on-site review of the states inspection, compliance, accident investigation, training, and excavation damage prevention records and activities. The Progress Report scoring gives consideration to the states extent of safety authority over pipeline operators, inspector qualifications, inspection days accomplished, adoption of maximum civil penalty amounts, progress adopting amendments to federal regulations, adoption of one call requirements, and attendance at the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representative meetings. PHMSA also provides federal grant funding in support of preventing excavation damage to underground facilities which is a leading cause of pipeline incidents. To learn more about these grants go to State Program Grants.

Compliance

Achieving operator compliance with the pipeline safety regulations is critical to preventing accidents. A major aspect of compliance involves regular inspections of pipeline facilities and, in the event of a violation of the regulations, imposition of an appropriate administrative, civil, or criminal remedy. Federal and State pipeline inspectors perform standard, follow-up, drug, and construction inspections of pipeline operators. These inspectors also conduct accident investigations and respond to public complaints concerning pipeline operations.

OPS regional offices inspect interstate pipeline systems and intrastate facilities under direct Federal jurisdiction to determine operator compliance with pipeline safety regulations. These facilities include certain municipal and master meter gas systems that by State law are not subject to State regulation or intrastate pipelines in States where the state agency is not participating in the program.

Data Analysis
OPS information system program enters reported information in the data base and analyzes incident, pipeline inventory, and operator data to enhance OPS, States, and industry's ability to assess problems in pipeline safety operations and determine the benefits of introducing new safety actions to prevent incidents or lessen damage when incidents cannot be avoided. These data largely come from accident/safety-related condition reports submitted by gas and hazardous liquid pipeline operators and annual reports submitted by gas pipeline operators which include information on miles and types of pipelines.
Outreach

OPS and their State partners regularly participate in joint government-industry-public committees and task forces to discuss and address concerns related to risk management, compliance, emerging technology, damage prevention, and environmental protection. If you would like to know more about these outreach efforts, please select the link below.

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Contact Us

U.S. Department of Transportation
PHMSA
ATTN: PHP-50
East Building, 2nd Floor
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20590

Zach Barrett
zach.barrett@dot.gov
202-366-4595

or

Gwen Hill
gwendolyn.hill@dot.gov
202-366-4395
1200 New Jersey Ave.
E 22-321
Washington DC, 20590

For Interstate Agents
Look Up
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NTSB Recommendations: Hazmat
PHMSA is required by law to respond to recommendations issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
 
NTSB Recommendations: Pipeline
PHMSA is required by law to respond to recommendations issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
 
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