PHMSA Proposes New Pipeline Accident Requirements

The proposed changes would require faster notification following pipeline accidents and other regulatory adjustments and updates.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has proposed new requirements to strengthen federal pipeline safety regulations related to pipeline accident and incident notification. According to an agency news release, the Operator Qualification, Cost Recovery and Accident Notification proposed rule would allow PHMSA to recover costs for pipeline design reviews and addresses several NTSB recommendations related to operator qualification programs, personnel training, drug and alcohol testing, and acceptable methods for assessing crack defects in pipelines.

The proposed rule would require pipeline operators to notify the National Response Center of a pipeline release at the earliest practicable moment following the confirmed discovery of an accident or incident involving natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines.

"We constantly seek to raise the bar on safety," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "This proposed rule will improve safety in a number of ways, including a notification time limit which eliminates any ambiguity about timeliness in reporting and is crucial to the ability to mitigate damage and protect people, property and the environment following an incident."

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