Editor’s note: you should be wide awake when reading this, because it is very important!
On Tuesday, December 17, 2002, President Bush signed the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002. This law contains several self-implementing requirements, that place certain obligations on pipeline operators whether the Office of Pipeline Safety issues additional regulations or not. This includes:
– Public Education Programs:
Not later than 12 months after the date of enactment of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002, each owner or operator of a gas or hazardous liquid pipeline facility shall review its existing public education program for effectiveness and modify the program as necessary. The completed program shall include activities to advise affected municipalities, school districts, businesses, and residents of pipeline facility locations. The completed program shall be submitted to the Secretary or, in the case of an intrastate pipeline facility operator, the appropriate State agency, and shall be periodically reviewed by the Secretary or, in the case of an intrastate pipeline facility operator, the appropriate State agency.
– Operator Qualification Programs:
Notwithstanding any failure of the Secretary to prescribe standards and criteria as described in subsection (b), an operator of a pipeline facility shall develop and adopt a qualification program that complies with the requirement of subsection (b)(2)(B) and includes the elements described in subsection (d) not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this section.
– Gas Pipeline Risk Assessment and Integrity Management Programs:
The regulations shall require an operator to conduct a risk analysis and adopt an integrity management program within a time period prescribed by the Secretary, ending not later than 24 months after such date of enactment. Not later than 18 months after such date of enactment, each operator of a gas pipeline facility shall begin a baseline integrity assessment described in paragraph (3).
In the absence of regulations addressing the elements of an integrity management program described in this subsection, the operator of a pipeline facility shall conduct a risk analysis and adopt and implement an integrity management program described in this subsection not later than 24 months after the date of enactment of this subsection and shall complete the baseline integrity assessment described in this subsection not later than 10 years after such date of enactment. At least 50 percent of such facilities shall be assessed not later than 5 years after such date of enactment. The operator shall prioritize such facilities for assessment based on all risk factors, including any previously discovered defects or anomalies and any history of leaks, repairs, or failures. The operator shall ensure that assessments of facilities with the highest risks are given priority for completion and that such assessments will be completed not later than 5 years after such date of enactment.
– National Pipeline Mapping System:
- INFORMATION TO BE PROVIDED- Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this section, the operator of a pipeline facility (except distribution lines and gathering lines) shall provide to the Secretary of Transportation the following information with respect to the facility:
- Geospatial data appropriate for use in the National Pipeline Mapping System or data in a format that can be readily converted to geospatial data.
- The name and address of the person with primary operational control to be identified as its operator for purposes of this chapter.
- A means for a member of the public to contact the operator for additional information about the pipeline facilities it operates.
- UPDATES- A person providing information under subsection (a) shall provide to the Secretary updates of the information to reflect changes in the pipeline facility owned or operated by the person and as otherwise required by the Secretary.
As mentioned in our December, 2002 newsletter, the complete pipeline safety act can be downloaded from RCP’s website here.