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U.S. Department
of Transportation

Pipeline Safety Stakeholder Communications

Pipeline Safety Connects Us All

Community Assistance & Technical Services

The mission of the OPS Community Assistance & Technical Services (CATS) team is an ambitious one:

To advance public safety, environmental protection and pipeline reliability by facilitating clear communications among all pipeline stakeholders, including the public, the operators and government officials.

An important aim of the CATS program is to reach out to all pipeline safety stakeholders. Responsibilities of CATS managers include:

  • Communicating information to help communities understand pipeline risks and improve pipeline safety and environmental protection.
  • Fostering effective communications regarding pipeline safety among PHMSA, other federal agencies, state pipeline safety regulators, elected and emergency officials, pipeline operators and the public.
  • Serving as "honest brokers" in facilitating permits required for safety-related pipeline repairs.

In carrying out their responsibilities, CATS program managers perform a variety of activities. These include:

  • Participating with state and regional damage prevention groups and the Common Ground Alliance to further the implementation of damage prevention best practices.
  • Helping states assess their damage prevention programs and opportunities.
  • Serving as designated PHMSA representatives before a wide variety of stakeholders. CATS managers routinely provide informational presentations to various stakeholder groups to broaden public awareness of our country's energy transportation pipeline systems.
  • Meeting with federal, state and local regulatory agencies, and pipeline operators to facilitate timely issuance of permits necessary for conducting pipeline integrity activities.
  • Providing consultation to regulators, regulated parties and other stakeholders regarding new and amended regulatory requirements.
  • Responding to public inquiries and complaints regarding pipelines and pipeline operations.

CATS managers are located within each PHMSA region. Contact information for the CATS manager for your state is noted below.

CATS National Coordinator

Karen Lynch:


Phone: (202) 366-6855

OPS Central Region
Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Michigan; Minnesota; Missouri; Nebraska; North Dakota; South Dakota; Wisconsin.

The CATS Manager position in the Central Region is vacant. Please contact Karen Lynch for assistance.


Phone: (202) 366-6855

OPS Southern Region
Alabama; Florida; Georgia; Kentucky; Mississippi; North Carolina; Puerto Rico; South Carolina; Tennessee.

Arthur Buff:


Phone: (404) 832-1155

OPS Eastern Region
Connecticut; Delaware; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; Ohio; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Vermont; Virginia; Washington, D.C.; West Virginia.

Karen Gentile:


Phone: (609) 989-2252

OPS Southwest Region

Arkansas; Louisiana; New Mexico; Oklahoma; Texas.

Bill Lowry


Phone: (713) 272-2845

James ‘Jay’ Prothro:


Phone: (713) 272-2832

OPS Western Region
Alaska; Arizona; California; Colorado; Hawaii; Idaho; Montana; Nevada; Oregon; Utah; Washington; Wyoming.

Tom Finch:


Phone: (720) 963-3175

Dave Mulligan:


Phone: (720) 963-3193