Lowered Hazardous Pipeline Standards Ok’d

Picture PHMSA Director

For generations the U.S. has used steel pipelines to move liquid hazardous materials into, out of and across the country. These steel pipeline networks have been the preferred technology for moving hazardous liquids because of steels ability to operate under high pressure. Ultimately, allowing great amounts of material to be moved across large land masses in short periods of time with little incidence.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) directed by Howard Mac McMillan claims over 95% of the nation’s federally regulated hazardous pipes are constructed of steel. However, this trend is changing as the costs of using plastic makes it the new idea conveyor of hazardous materials in today’s pipe systems. Because of this PHMSA has come up with a methodology for “Risk Ranking” installed pipeline systems and gives recommendations regarding cathodic protections for continued pipeline maintenance.

PHMSA has publicly stated our methodology for testing pipeline systems isn’t scientific or documented. One must wonder is this meant to give contractors the green light to neglect safety. Telling contractors there’s no watchdog regulating hazardous pipe installation can’t be the brightest move for consumer protections. PHMSA goes on to tell the industry they haven’t used any data to verify their methodology as sound and a good practice. Because of this peculiar position the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been asked to intervene. In a GAO report to Congress the Department of Transportation (DOT) is identified as the agency responsible for inspecting the pipeline industry and ensuring safety regulations are adhered to.

The summary in the Congressional report by the GAO recommends PHMSA documents and uses data to test the effectiveness of its methodology for testing pipeline systems. What a brainstorm, the report probably cost tax payers several millions of dollars. With government geniuses like this why is America out looking for enemies when they’re already here?

More can be found at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-639 and at http://www.gao.gov/assets/690/686390.pdf and at https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/pipeline and at https://psc.nd.gov/jurisdiction/pipelines/docs/2017%20pipeline%20safety%20seminar/PHMSA-rulemaking-update.pdf and at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/06/20/2017-12805/pipeline-safety-gas-and-liquid-advisory-committee-member-nominations