Pipeline Safety and Security: Federal Programs [Updated February 29, 2008]   [open pdf - 168KB]

"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 hazardous 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 109th Congress passed the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-468) to improve pipeline safety and security practices, and to reauthorize the federal Office of Pipeline Safety. The 110th Congress passed the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-53), which President Bush signed on August 3, 2007. […]. Congress is overseeing the implementation of these acts and examining ongoing policy issues related to the nation's pipeline network. The Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS), within the Department of Transportation (DOT), is the lead federal regulator of pipeline safety. […]. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is the lead federal agency for security in all modes of transportation--including pipelines. […]. While the OPS and TSA have distinct missions, pipeline safety and security are intertwined. 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."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33347
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