In This Issue

PHMSA Pipeline Fines Break Record in 2013

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) proposed $9.78 million in civil penalties against pipeline operators for alleged violations of federal law in 2013 – the highest yearly amount of proposed penalties in the agency’s history. Of the $9.78 million in proposed civil penalties for 2013, 22 cases representing $1,532,300 have been resolved. There are still 41 pending cases from 2013. The agency has proposed more than $33 million in penalties in pipeline enforcement cases since 2009.

The Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty and Job Creation Act of 2011 authorized PHMSA to double its maximum civil penalty amount for violations of federal pipeline law. PHMSA issued a final rule in 2013 raising the maximum civil penalty amount it is authorized to impose against pipeline operators from $100,000 to $200,000 for a single violation and from $1 million to $2 million for a series of related violations. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in an April 7 statement that the Transportation Department will use its recently increased maximum civil penalty authority “whenever necessary.”