"In the wake of several recent serious pipeline incidents, the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration [PHMSA] has been working hard to address safety concerns. To date, PHMSA has determined that the age of the pipelines, the enforcement authority, and the data quality and transparency are some of the elements that are vital to having safe and reliable pipelines. Pipeline infrastructure--like our roads, bridges, ports, and rail infrastructure--is aging and needs more attention. Secretary Ray LaHood issued a Call to Action, urging pipeline operators to step up and repair, rehabilitate, or replace their aging infrastructure. The Pipeline Safety Update includes infrastructure updates from states, as well as initiatives from pipeline operators. In recognition of the need to strengthen pipeline safety regulations, President Obama signed the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty and Job Creation Act of 2011 into law earlier this year. The Act authorizes PHMSA to increase the maximum civil penalty for pipeline safety violations from $100,000 to $200,000 per violation per day. In addition, the agency will be able to collect a maximum of $2,000,000 for a related series of violations, up from $1,000,000. PHMSA is already moving forward to implement this new statutory authority. PHMSA plans to use its new authority to build on its already strong enforcement history -- in 2011, PHMSA closed its highest number of enforcement cases in a single year since the passage of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002."
United States Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration: http://opsweb.phmsa.dot.gov/