Stoel Rives attorneys Michael Mills and Shannon Morrissey authored an article for the San Francisco Daily Journal titled “After leak, Obama re-ups pipeline safety.” The article discusses S.2276, which is known as the Securing America’s Future Energy: Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act. The act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in June and amends the Pipelines Safety Act to reauthorize pipeline safety programs of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).
The act, which is composed of 31 sections that regulate storage, inspection, reporting and emergency response for natural gas storage and transmission facilities, has three primary purposes, according to the authors:
- It would require PHMSA to conduct a workforce analysis and would authorize PHMSA to conduct limited direct hire authority from 2016 to 2019.
- It would require PHMSA to develop safety regulations for underground natural gas storage facilities.
- It would require the Comptroller General to conduct reviews of the Gas and Liquid Integrity Management programs.
The authors also discuss new regulations, proposed by PHMSA and referenced in the act, that would update requirements related to gas gathering and transmission lines and would, if passed, subject thousands of miles of pipeline built before 1970 to verification and testing. Operators of older, largely unregulated, lines that were not required to be tested would need to start doing so, which the authors write, “may be challenging and costly for operators given the lack of records and age of many of these pipelines.”
Read “After leak, Obama re-ups pipeline safety,” published by the San Francisco Daily Journal June 24, 2016. (Subscription required.)