Archived Rulemaking: Inspection and Burial of Offshore Gas and Hazardous Liquid Pipelines
Natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines buried in shallow offshore waters in the Gulf of Mexico have been involved in" accidents with fishing and other vessels. Public Law 101-599 was enacted to determine the extent to which pipelines in shallow waters in the Gulf of Mexico may be a hazard to fishing vessels. This Final Rule implements the immediate provisions of Public Law 101-599 amending the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 and the Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Act of 1979. Under this final rule, operators of natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines are required to do the following: (1) Conduct an underwater inspection of pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico and its inlets located in water less than 15 feet deep, by November 16, 1992; (2) report to the Coast Guard those pipelines which have been discovered to be exposed or otherwise present a hazard to navigation and mark such pipelines with a buoy; and (3) bury, within 6 months, those pipelines identified under (2) above, or by any other person. This Final Rule also provides for reporting the results of the underwater inspection to the Department, as well as providing for criminal penalties for damaging, removing, defacing, or destroying a pipeline marker buoy.