Pipeline Safety

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  1. Oil and Gas: Oil pipeline safety rule scaled back after cost objections

    This Dec. 10, 2016, file photo, provided by the North Dakota Department of Health shows an oil spill from the Belle Fourche Pipeline that was discovered Dec. 5, 2016 in Ash Coulee Creek, a tributary of the Little Missouri River, near Belfield, N.D. President Barack Obama's administration has scaled back new safety measures for the sprawling network of fuel pipelines that crisscross the United States after complaints from industry over the potential cost. The administration on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, finalized new regulations for almost 200,000 miles of pipelines that transport crude oil, gasoline and other hazardous liquids. A proposed requirement for companies to immediately repair problems discovered on their lines was dropped. (Scott Stockdill/North Dakota Department of Health via AP, File) BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — President Barack Obama's administration scaled back new safety measures for the sprawling network of fuel pipelines that crisscross the United States on Friday, following oil industry complaints that proposed changes would cost companies billions of dollars. The long-delayed regulations cover almost 200,000 miles of pipelines that transport oil, gasoline and other hazardous liquids. They will be subject to review by Congress and the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump, who was highly critical on the campaign trail of regulations that hinder energy development. If the changes stand, pipeline companies will be required to conduct more rigorous inspections of lines in rural areas and install leak detection systems that are meant to speed up emergency response times when accidents occur. An earlier administration proposal for companies to immediately repair cracks and other problems in their lines was dropped, drawing criticism from safety advocates. Documents show the pipeline repair criteria was altered to give companies more flexibility in when to do the work following a December 12 meeting of officials from the Transportation Department and White House with representatives of the oil industry. The American Petroleum Institute complained that the administration's original proposal for repairs, unveiled in late 2015, was too stringent and would cost companies almost $3 billion over the next decade. The industry group argued the high price tag outweighed any benefits from accidents averted. "Based on information no one else was privy to, they weakened the final rule," said Carl Weimer with the Pipeline Safety Trust, an advocacy group based in Bellingham, Washington. "We hope there's still enough to prevent more of the types of spills we've seen over the past four or five years." The trust was formed after three children were killed when a gasoline pipeline broke in 1999, leaking fuel for 1½ hours before it exploded. Thousands of pipeline accidents over the past decade caused $2.5 billion in damages nationwide and dumped almost 38 million gallons of fuels. John Stoody with the Association of Oil Pipelines said it was important for companies to have enough flexibility in repairs that they can concentrate their work where spills could cause the most harm, such as in cities or beneath water bodies. "We should put resources where we have the most impact on pipeline safety," Stoody said. The new regulations go into effect in roughly six months, meaning the Trump administration could seek to block or modify them. Trump's transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Transportation Department spokeswoman Allie Aguilera said the government and industry were "on the same page on safety," suggesting there would be no need to overturn the rule. The American Petroleum Institute issued a statement saying the rule was an improvement over the original proposal, yet retained provisions that would force companies to divert attention from areas of highest risk. Previous industry regulations applied primarily to lines in so-called high consequence areas with large populations or environmentally sensitive features such as drinking water supplies. Lines outside those areas were not required to be inspected with mechanical devices known as "pipeline pigs," which travel inside the pipe looking for flaws. Friday's rule will require the use of pipeline pigs on large transmission pipelines that run beneath the land, but federal officials dropped their proposal to require the use of pigs offshore.

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    Online Articles

    Tue, 17 Jan 2017

  2. PHMSA issues final rule aimed at improving liquids pipeline safety

    The US Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration completed one of its top priority rulemakings for 2016 as Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez signed long-awaited safety requirements for onshore hazardous materials pipelines. The final rule makes critical safety improvements, PHMSA ...

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Mon, 16 Jan 2017

  3. PHMSA issues CAO to Belle Fourche Pipeline Co. following ND leak

    The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a corrective action order to Belle Fourche Pipeline Co. in Casper, Wyo., following a Dec. 5 crude oil leak on one of its pipelines in North Dakota.

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    Online Articles

    Thu, 22 Dec 2016

  4. Oil and Gas: State regulators: Cascade Natural Gas agrees to pay $2.5M

    State regulators say Cascade Natural Gas Corp. has agreed to pay $2.5 million to resolve a complaint filed over pipeline safety violations.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Sat, 17 Dec 2016

  1. PHMSA issues interim final rule to address gas storage issues

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 14 Dec 2016

  2. Oil Pipeline: Company: Equipment didn't detect North Dakota oil leak

    Electronic monitoring equipment failed to detect a pipeline rupture that spewed more than 176,000 gallons of crude oil into a North Dakota creek, the pipeline's operator said Monday.

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Wed, 14 Dec 2016

  3. PHMSA proposal would broaden gas pipeline safety requirements

    The US Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration proposed broader natural gas transmission pipeline safety regulations that would add new assessment and repair criteria, and include lines in medium population density areas, called moderate consequence areas, where an incident would pose ...

    Online Articles

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    Thu, 17 Mar 2016

  4. PHMSA to issue gas pipeline safety rules soon, House panel told

    The US Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration expects to issue natural gas pipeline safety rules in the next few weeks now that its proposals have completed a White House Office of Management and Budget review, PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez told a US House Energy and ...

    Online Articles

    Online Articles

    Tue, 1 Mar 2016

  5. House Energy and Commerce Committee approves pipeline safety bill

    The US House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously passed HR 5050, the pipeline safety reauthorization bill, on Apr. 27. The action followed the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s approval of its own pipeline safety bill, HR 4937, a week earlier.

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    Wed, 27 Apr 2016

  6. NEB, CEPA form committee on pipeline safety

    Canada’s National Energy Board and the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association have formed a pipeline safety committee.

    Online Articles

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    Thu, 26 May 2016

  7. Senate vote sends 2016 pipeline safety bill to White House

    The US Senate unanimously approved an amended federal pipeline safety bill it received days earlier from the House of Representatives, sending it to the White House for President Obama’s signature.

    Online Articles

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    Tue, 14 Jun 2016

  8. Obama signs 2016 pipeline safety reauthorization bill into law

    US President Barack Obama signed S. 2276, the 2016 pipeline safety reauthorization bill, on June 21. The bill became law more than a week after the US Senate approved a version with House amendments and sent it to the White House.

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    Online Articles

    Thu, 23 Jun 2016

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