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Pipeline Enforcement Overview

The Pipeline Safety Enforcement Program is designed to monitor and enforce compliance with pipeline safety regulations and confirm operators are meeting PHMSA's expectations for the safe, reliable, and environmentally-sound operation of their facilities.

Enforcement Actions

PHMSA employs a range of enforcement mechanisms to require pipeline operators to take appropriate and timely corrective actions for violations of federal pipeline safety regulations, and that they take preventive measures to preclude future failures or non-compliant operation of their pipelines.

Pipeline enforcement actions are available on the Enforcement Transparency Webpage (ET). Information shared includes details from pending and closed cases against pipeline operators found non-compliant with federal pipeline safety regulations and having unsafe conditions. Pipeline enforcement data and documents provided are organized by calendar year of issuance and type of enforcement action with data exporting capabilities.

PHMSA also exercises enforcement actions against excavators who damage pipelines in states with inadequate excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs under 49 C.F.R. Part 196. These actions are available at the Third Party Excavation Enforcement Webpage.

Enforcement Guidance

Enforcement guidance documents are available to clarify PHMSA's enforcement authority by identifying and summarizing precedent, including those from interpretations, advisory bulletins, final orders, and decisions on petitions for reconsideration. The material contained in these documents describe the practices used by PHMSA personnel in undertaking their compliance, inspection, and enforcement activities. This guidance facilitates improved enforcement consistency and is particularly helpful where precedence exists for clarifying performance-based requirements. For enforcement guidance, please click link below to access these documents:

Pipeline Enforcement Guidance Documents

Enforcement Procedures

Comprehensive Enforcement Procedures provide structure to PHMSA's pipeline enforcement program. The Enforcement Procedures institutionalize learnings/best practices, improve nationwide consistency with a unified approach to enforcement, identify individual responsibilities and expectations for completing each step, and how documents and information flow between individuals and organizations in processing enforcement cases. The Enforcement Procedures include risk-based criteria for selecting enforcement actions.

Pipeline Enforcement Procedure Manual

Civil Penalty Summary

Pipeline Civil Penalty Summary

Response Options for Operators & Excavators

Response Options for Pipeline Operators & Excavators in Enforcement Proceedings

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

The Small Business and Agricultural Regulatory Enforcement Ombudsman and 10 Regional Fairness Boards were established to receive comments from small businesses about federal agency enforcement actions. The Ombudsman will annually evaluate the enforcement activities and rate each agency's responsiveness to small business. If you wish to comment on the enforcement actions of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, call 1-888-REG-FAIR (1-888-734-3247). For more information about The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, please click here.