Washington – Legislation aimed at improving pipeline safety efforts nationwide was reintroduced Feb. 3 by Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Jay Rockefeller (D-VA).
The Pipeline Transportation Safety Improvement Act (S.B. 275) aims to address long-standing safety issues, such as use of automatic shutoff valves and excess flow valves, by strengthening the authority of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration through fiscal year 2014. Some provisions included in the bill would:
- Increase civil penalties for violators of pipeline regulations and add civil penalties for obstructing investigations
- Expand excess flow valve requirements to include multifamily buildings and small commercial facilities
- Eliminate exemptions and require all local and state government agencies to contact “one-call” notification centers before digging
- Require the installation of automatic or remote-controlled shutoff valves on new transmission pipelines
- Require the Secretary of Transportation to establish time limits on incident and leak notification by pipeline operators to local and state government officials and emergency responders
- Make pipeline information, inspections and standards available to the public on PHMSA’s website