"Nearly half a million miles of oil and gas transmission pipeline crisscross the United States. While an efficient and fundamentally safe means of transport, many pipelines carry volatile or flammable materials with the potential to cause public injury and environmental damage. The nation's pipeline networks are also widespread, running alternately through remote and densely populated regions; consequently, these systems are vulnerable to accidents and terrorist attack. The 107th Congress passed legislation to improve pipeline safety and security practices, and to provide federal oversight of operator security programs (P.L. 107-355, P.L. 107-71, P.L. 107-296)...Federal activities in pipeline safety and security are evolving. Although pipeline impacts on the environment remain a concern of some public interest groups, both federal government and industry representatives suggest that federal pipeline programs have been on the right track. As oversight of the federal role in pipeline safety and security continues, questions may be raised concerning the relative pipeline security roles of DHS and the DOT, funding for federal pipeline programs, the need for new federal pipeline security regulations, and particular provisions in federal pipeline safety regulation. In addition to these specific issues, Congress may wish to assess how the various elements of U.S. pipeline safety and security activity fit together in the nation's overall strategy to protect transportation infrastructure."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33347