API supports oil pipeline safety initiative

Source: API

This April marks the fifth annual National Safe Digging Month, a reminder to all Americans to always call 811 a few days before any digging project, and API supports a proposal by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) to strengthen requirements to call before you dig.

“Eight-one-one should become as familiar to Americans as 911,” said API pipeline director Peter Lidiak. “April is the traditional start of digging season. We strongly encourage individuals and companies to call 811 before any digging project. Millions of us live, work or play near or above pipelines and other underground infrastructure. Before digging, call 811.”

PHMSA has published a proposal for federal enforcement of One-Call laws that require excavators to call underground utilities, including pipeline operators, to mark their facilities, before excavation occurs. The proposal lays down a framework for PHMSA to determine if state laws are adequate and, if not, allows for federal enforcement. API urged PHMSA to also consider inadequate state laws that allow parties to be exempt from One-Call and to move to final action swiftly.

“Pipelines are the safest way to transport crude oil and finished products,” Lidiak said. “Accidents resulting from excavation damage to our pipelines have been reduced by almost 70 percent, but safety is our number one priority.”

API encourages homeowners and professional excavators to take the following steps before any digging project:

•Always call 811 a few days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the property.
•Plan ahead. Call on Monday or Tuesday for work planned for an upcoming weekend, providing ample time for the approximate location of lines to be marked.
•Confirm with your local one call center that all lines have been marked.
•Learn what the various colors of paint and flags represents at www.call811.com/faqs Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line markings.
•If a contractor has been hired, confirm that a call to 811 has been made. Don’t allow work to begin if the lines aren’t marked.

Visit www.call811.com to learn more about 811 and safe digging practices.

API represents more than 500 oil and natural gas companies, leaders of a technology-driven industry that supplies most of America’s energy, supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs and 7.7 percent of the U.S. economy, delivers more than $86 million a day in revenue to our government, and, since 2000, has invested more than $2 trillion in U.S. capital projects to advance all forms of energy, including alternatives.

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