Virtually all aspects of the energy transportation pipeline industry are regulated to some extent by federal, state, and local agencies.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is the primary federal regulatory agency responsible for ensuring that pipelines are safe, reliable, and environmentally sound. From the federal level, we oversee the development and implementation of regulations concerning pipeline construction, maintenance and operation, and we share these responsibilities with our state regulatory partners. The pipeline safety regulations implement the laws found in the U.S. Code.
PHMSA and our state partners oversee over 2 million miles of hazardous liquid, gas transmission, and gas distribution pipelines. Our focus is on defining and ensuring industry compliance to regulations affecting the design, operation, and maintenance of these pipelines. Pipelines are the safest, most environmentally-friendly, and most efficient and reliable mode of transportation for gas and hazardous liquids. However pipeline accidents still happen - sometimes with tragic consequences. Therefore, we continue to work diligently with all stakeholders to improve pipeline safety.
Occasionally, as needs arise, PHMSA issues advisory bulletins to inform affected pipeline operators and federal and state pipeline safety personnel of matters that have the potential of becoming safety or environmental risks.
Pipeline Safety Regulations
The rules governing pipeline safety are included in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 190-199. Individual states may have additional or more stringent pipeline safety regulations.
Part 190 describes the procedures used by PHMSA in carrying out its regulatory duties. This part authorizes PHMSA to inspect pipelines and describes the procedures by which PHMSA can enforce the regulations. This part also describes the legal rights and options that the operating companies have in response to PHMSA enforcement actions.
Part 191 describes requirements on operators of gas pipelines (including gas gathering, transmission, and distribution systems) for reporting of incidents, safety-related conditions, and annual summary data.
Part 192 prescribes a wide variety of minimum safety requirements for gas pipelines. These regulations contain sections applicable to gas gathering, transmission, and distribution lines.
Part 193 addresses safety standards for liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities.
Part 194 contains requirements for oil spill response plans. This part is intended to reduce the environmental impact of oil discharged from onshore oil pipelines.
Part 195 prescribes the safety standards and reporting requirements for oil and carbon dioxide pipelines. As with the gas regulations, these regulations include detailed requirements on a broad spectrum of areas related to the safety and environmental protection of hazardous liquid pipelines. Part 195 also includes minimum requirements for operator qualification of individuals performing tasks required by the regulations.
Part 196 prescribes regulations for protection of underground pipelines from excavation activity.
Part 197 is currently reserved for future use.
Part 198 prescribes regulations governing grants-in-aid for State pipeline safety compliance programs.
Part 199 requires operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines to establish programs for preventing alcohol misuse and to test employees for the presence of alcohol and prohibited drugs and provides the procedures and conditions for this testing.