Last month, as part of the Department of Transportation's ongoing commitment to safety, we released a set of guidelines to help local governments, developers, and planners better protect communities near transmission pipelines.
Natural gas and hazardous liquid transmission pipelines play a crucial role in America's economy by safely and efficiently transporting almost 100 percent of the natural gas and about 66 percent of the oil and refined petroleum products consumed in the United States. Many of these pipelines were constructed in sparsely populated areas.
However, as development of residences, businesses and green space continues across our nation, these once-rural areas with pipelines have become urban or suburban. Land development in proximity to pipelines can increase the risk of a pipeline incident. The new guidelines--the first of their kind--will help communities safely coexist with nearby pipelines.
I want to thank the Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA) for developing these important safety recommendations. Led by DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, PIPA is a 130-member coalition that includes the pipeline safety community, city and county governments, the public, developers, fire marshals, pipeline operators, and state and federal regulators.
I think it's terrific when a group with such diverse interests can work together with safety as their top priority. And the report they have produced, Partnering to Further Enhance Pipeline Safety in Communities through Risk-Informed Land Use Planning, offers stakeholders practical options for planning that can help protect both existing pipeline infrastructure and America's growing communities.
“These recommendations describe actions local governments can take to make full use of available resources and how they can communicate effectively with transmission pipeline operators to better understand all factors that can affect risks.”
With so much of America's energy economy running below ground that now has increased activity above, the guidelines in this report provide communities an important new tool. It's just one more way that we at DOT are working hard to advance our number one priority--safety.