As communities develop and expand, new businesses and housing developments are affecting the nation's existing pipeline infrastructure. These changes have implications for the more than 183,000 miles of hazardous liquid pipelines and more than 299,000 miles of natural gas transmission pipelines that move energy throughout the U.S. every day. Since county governments maintain a number of public facilities and make local land use and development decisions, it is important for county leaders be aware of how these responsibilities impact existing pipeline infrastructure.
There are a number of reasons why county leaders should prioritize pipeline safety. First of all, an enormous amount of pipeline infrastructure crosses through a large number of counties. Second, county officials and planning staff make local land use and development decisions that can interact with existing or planned pipeline infrastructure. Third, local governments are usually the first to respond to pipeline emergencies and are usually the first place citizens turn to with pipeline questions.
All pipeline safety is regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). PHMSA believes that effective pipeline safety is a responsibility shared by all levels of government federal, state and local as well as by pipeline operators and landowners. As a result, in 2010 PHMSA convened a group of over 130 stakeholder groups and individuals made up of property developers/owners, local government officials, pipeline operators, real estate commissions and relevant national organizations, including NACo, to form the Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA).
NACo recently released the Recommended Pipeline Safety Practices for Local Governments fact sheet to introduce PIPA's Baseline (BL) Recommended Practices that are specific to local governments. The fact sheet defines each of PIPA's BL Recommended Practices for local governments and offers corresponding resources and suggestions to support implementation of each practice.
For additional questions related to pipeline safety, email Jen Horton at firstname.lastname@example.org.