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. These proposed rules would implement 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. As proposed in this Notice, operators of natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines would be 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, within 1 year of the issuance of the final rule or May 16, 1992, whichever comes first; (2) report to the Coast Guard those pipelines which have become exposed or otherwise present a hazard to navigation and mark such pipelines with a buoy; and (3) bury those pipelines identified under (2) above, or by any other person, within 6 months after discovery. Other proposals necessary to implement Public Law 101- 599 would provide for reporting of 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.