Collaboration is improving gas pipeline safety, AGF report concludes

US natural gas pipelines are safer than at any other time in history because collaborative efforts involving the gas industry and federal, state, and local regulators are working, a report issued by the American Gas Foundation concluded. The collaboration has been instrumental in implementing regulations outlined in 2006 and 2011 federal legislation, which is still going on, the American Gas Association’s foundation said.

“The past 15 years have included more pipeline safety mandates and rulemakings than any other decade since the creation of the federal pipeline safety code in 1971 and they are working,” said Christina Sames, AGA vice-president for operations and engineering.

“Gas utilities have implemented numerous programs through federal regulations or voluntary actions, but many of these programs are in the early stages and several required regulations have yet to be finalized,” Sames said. “We hope Congress will take this report, our track record of success and all the rules that have still yet to be finalized and implemented into account when considering the reauthorization of pipeline safety legislation.”

Sames said the report tracks more than 5 decades of the US Department of Transportation’s oversight of the federal pipeline safety program. That program has grown from a fledgling agency with a handful of federal employees and very limited financial resources to a more robust regulator with a projected federal workforce of more than 300 federal employees and almost $150 million in annual funding, she noted.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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