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U.S. Department
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Pipeline Safety Stakeholder Communications

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The PHMSA Enforcement Program

PHMSA assures that operators comply with PHMSA’s federal pipeline safety regulations through field inspections of facilities and construction projects; programmatic inspections of operator management systems, procedures, and processes; incident investigations; and through direct dialogue with operator management.

To facilitate compliance, PHMSA clarifies its regulatory expectations with published inspection forms and protocols; rule interpretations; posting of Final Orders on its website, guidance manuals and advisory notices; FAQs; and public meetings and workshops.

PHMSA has available a full range of enforcement tools to ensure that operators take appropriate and timely corrective actions for violations, and that they take preventive measures to preclude future failures or non-compliant operation of their pipelines.

Finally, PHMSA's enforcement program provides consideration of operators that are small businesses. For more information, see the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act.

Nationwide and Operator-specific enforcement reports and records depicting PHMSA's enforcement activities are available.

Enforcement Program Objectives

To accomplish its mission, the Enforcement Program is organized and implemented to meet specific objectives relating to:




Enforcement Mechanisms

The Enforcement Program has a number of different mechanisms to assure operator compliance and safe operation. (See Title 49, Part 190, Subpart B “Enforcement” in the Code of Federal Regulations.) A brief synopsis of these mechanisms is provided below. This synopsis does not substitute for the regulations themselves. Enforcement mechanisms that may be initiated by PHMSA are discussed in more detail below, and include:

    Corrective Action Order

    Notice of Proposed Safety Order

    Notice of Amendment

    Notice of Probable Violation

The types of enforcement action initiated by PHMSA depend on the safety and regulatory significance of the hazards, violations, or procedural inadequacies encountered.

The Adjudication Process

PHMSA initiates enforcement actions through the mechanisms listed above, which notify operators of identified hazardous or integrity risk conditions, alleged violations, or alleged procedural inadequacies. These proposed enforcement actions are finalized through PHMSA’s issuance of a Final Order. In most cases, operators have the opportunity to: provide additional information for consideration, contest in writing, or request a hearing to contest PHMSA’s notice of proposed enforcement actions prior to PHMSA’s issuance of a Final Order. Detailed information regarding enforcement response options for pipeline operators in enforcement proceedings can be found by clicking here.

If PHMSA’s proposed enforcement action is not contested and the facts are as alleged in the notice, the proposed enforcement action is issued in a Final Order.

    Consent Order


    Final Orders

    Order Directing Amendment

    Petition for Reconsideration

    Criminal Penalties

To find out if a gas transmission pipeline or hazardous liquid trunkline is located near you, visit the National Pipeline Mapping System and search by your county or zip code.