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About Excavation Enforcement Final Rule

On July 13, 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced the issuance of a final rule to establish the process for evaluating State excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs and enforcing minimum Federal damage prevention standards in States where damage prevention law enforcement is deemed inadequate or does not exist.

This final rule amends the Federal pipeline safety regulations to establish the following:

  • Criteria and procedures PHMSA will use to determine the adequacy of State pipeline excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs;
  • The administrative process PHMSA will use in determining the adequacy of State excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs;
  • The Federal requirements PHMSA will enforce in States with inadequate excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs; and
  • The adjudication process for administrative enforcement proceedings against excavators where Federal authority is exercised.

The development of the review criteria and the subsequent determination of the adequacy of State excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs is intended to (1) encourage States to develop effective excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs to protect the public from the risk of pipeline ruptures caused by excavation damage, and (2) allow for Federal administrative enforcement action in States with inadequate enforcement programs.

Updated: Wednesday, November 15, 2017