Each day vast quantities of hazardous liquids and gas are transported via pipelines to provide energy to homes and businesses, fuel automobiles and planes and fertilize crops, just to name a few. Overall, more than 164,000 miles of hazardous liquid pipelines and more than 295,000 miles of natural gas pipelines are moving energy throughout the U.S. daily. Despite the presence of active pipelines in all fifty states, most people are unaware of their existence, let alone their location.
County governments maintain a number of public facilities (including water and sewer systems, roads and transit) and make local land use and development decisions that can interact with existing pipeline infrastructure. As a result, a local government's ordinances, policies and practices can impact pipeline safety in a community. Although counties do not have the regulatory or enforcement authority to propose pipeline transmission safety standards, local governments can apply their land use and development authority to reduce pipeline safety risks to overall public health.
NACo just released the Creating Consultation Zones for Pipeline Safety fact sheet to introduce pipeline consultation zones and overview how counties can use them as a pipeline safety strategy. Consultation zones are local ordinances that require communication and review among property developers, property owners and pipeline operators when new land uses and property developments are being planned within a designated distance of a pipeline. This fact sheet provides answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about consultation zones, including their purpose, recommended distance, model ordinances and additional resources.
Want to find out where transmission pipelines are located in your county? Visit the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) and search by your county or zip code.