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PHMSA Takes Action to Assist with Hurricane Dorian Preparedness and Response Efforts

Friday, August 30, 2019

PHMSA is continuing to monitor the movements of Hurricane Dorian to understand its potential effect on hazardous materials and pipeline operations.  This webpage provides critical information regarding PHMSA's pipeline and hazardous materials safety programs to assist in any necessary response and remediation efforts as the storm advances toward the southeastern coast of the United States.  

Pipeline Operations

PHMSA is working with states and pipeline operators within the path of Hurricane Dorian, or that could be potentially affected by the hurricane, to remove obstacles that would prevent safe and rapid recovery efforts. Operators continue to aggressively implement their hurricane preparedness plans and are taking actions to minimize the impact of the storm. 

PHMSA issued a Stay of Enforcement to all liquefied natural gas facilities, as well as interstate gas and hazardous liquid pipeline operators who may contain limited resources due to the storm. The document alerts operators that the agency will temporarily halt its enforcement of compliance with operator qualification requirements, but does not relieve operators of their safety responsibility to use trained, non-impaired workers to perform operation and maintenance tasks. 

PHMSA is working with operators to discuss and potentially delay or reschedule planned inspections of pipeline systems and facilities impacted by the storm.

PHMSA also encourages state pipeline safety partners to consider suspending certain enforcement efforts for noncompliance in the interest of prompt and efficient pipeline safety activities related to response and recovery efforts for Hurricane Dorian. PHMSA forwarded letters to the states of Florida, Georgia, North CarolinaSouth Carolina and Virginia that enables each state to grant requests for emergency waivers from intrastate operators of pipeline operator qualification requirements for up to 30-days.

Additional Helpful Information

Several advisory bulletins issued by PHMSA in the past are available for reference to further assist pipeline operators in their efforts to respond to emergency situations and ensure they remain in compliance with Federal pipeline safety regulations.

PHMSA is continuing to work closely with the Department of Energy and Department of Homeland Security to monitor the status of critical infrastructure in the impacted areas. For those needing to access underground infrastructure in affected states, PHMSA encourages a call to 811 prior to restoration and rebuilding project that require excavation activities. Visit the Common Ground Alliance for more information.

Additionally, PHMSA is aware that some operators may need to extend the hours-of-service for pipeline controllers for a variety of reasons, such as if other controllers are unable to get to the office or are handling their own flooding issues at home. Guidance on pipeline operator hours-of-service requirements is available HERE.

To learn more about obtaining a hazardous materials emergency special permit, click HERE.

To learn more about obtaining a pipeline safety emergency special permit, click HERE.

For additional information regarding emergency special permits or hazardous materials transport, please call the offices below:

  • Hazardous Materials Information Center: 800-467-4922
  • Hazardous Materials Approvals and Permits Division: 202-366-4535
  • Office of Pipeline Safety: 202-366-4595
  • Office of Governmental, International, and Public Affairs: phmsa.publicaffairs@dot.gov; (202) 366-4831
Updated: Wednesday, September 4, 2019