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Fact Sheet: President Clinton: Improving Pipeline Safety by Protecting Our Communities and Our Environment (11/3/00)

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|                            November 3, 2000                             |
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Today, the Administration is taking steps to ensure the safety of the over
two million miles of oil and gas pipeline that criss-cross our country.
These pipelines are important to our economy and our daily lives,
transporting the products that fuel our cars and heat our homes.  While the
overall safety record of our nation?s pipeline system is strong, accidents
still occur.  These pipeline failures can damage the environment,
contaminate our drinking water, threaten the safety of our communities, and
put human lives at risk.  Recent tragedies in Bellingham, Washington, and
near Carlsbad, New Mexico, have underscored the need to improve pipeline
safety nationwide.

Earlier this year, the Administration proposed comprehensive pipeline
safety legislation to establish better standards for the inspection and
maintenance of our Nation?s pipelines, backed by rigorous enforcement,
effective state-federal partnerships, the best technology achievable, and a
community?s right to know about nearby pipelines.  Despite significant
efforts by many Members of Congress, comprehensive pipeline safety
legislation has not been passed this year.  While the Administration
continues to support Congressional action to strengthen and improve our
federal pipeline safety laws, we are taking steps using existing authority
to ensure that our pipeline system is sound, our communities are safe, and
our environment is protected.

Issuing New Regulation for Pipeline Safety. Today, the Department of
Transportation is issuing a strong, new regulation to improve the safety of
hazardous liquid pipelines in populated and environmentally sensitive
areas.  Under these new regulations, companies that operate more than 500
miles of hazardous liquid pipeline will be required to establish and follow
new programs to effectively manage the integrity of their pipelines.  As a
part of the new programs, pipeline operators will be required to:

? Perform a baseline assessment of their pipeline within seven years (with
at least half of the pipeline to be assessed within three and a half

? Regularly test their pipeline generally no less than once every five

? Perform assessments using an internal inspection tool, pressure testing,
or another, equally effective test method.

? Follow a rigorous repair schedule to fix problems identified through
these inspections.

? Employ methods for leak detection, and use emergency flow restricting
devices where necessary.

Taking Comprehensive Actions to Improve Pipeline Safety. In addition,
President Clinton is directing the Department of Transportation to take a
number of additional actions, using existing authorities, to improve
pipeline safety nationwide.  These actions include:

? Improving pipeline safety standards.  DOT will take a number of steps to
improve pipeline safety standards, including (1) issuing a final rule to
define environmentally sensitive areas within 30 days; (2) developing a
comprehensive plan no later than January 15, 2001, for further improving
hazardous liquid and natural gas pipeline safety standards, including
further rulemakings on integrity management and corrosion control; and (3)
ensuring that specific operator plans and programs are thoroughly reviewed
by the Department.

? Strengthening enforcement. DOT will promptly assess the use of all
enforcement tools available to the Office of Pipeline Safety and develop a
policy designed to ensure strong, consistent, and effective enforcement, in
coordination with the Attorney General.

? Enhancing federal-state partnerships.  DOT will issue guidelines within
60 days, outlining opportunities and responsibilities for states to
participate in the oversight of interstate pipelines.   The guidelines
would cover new construction and incident investigation, the review of
specific operator plans and programs, and additional oversight that will
add to overall pipeline safety and address local concerns.

? Providing the public with better information.  DOT will develop a
comprehensive plan for expanding public participation in pipeline safety
decisions and for providing increased access to gas and hazardous liquid
pipeline data and information, including: (1) improving public access to
safety-related condition reports, pipeline incident reports, integrity
management programs, and operator qualification programs;  (2) collecting
more complete and detailed information on the causes of accidents; and (3)
helping communities to more effectively address their pipeline safety

? Supporting research and development.  DOT will develop a cooperative
program to establish research priorities, coordinate and leverage research
funding, and maximize efforts for ensuring pipeline integrity, in
coordination with the Secretary of Energy and in consultation with Federal
and State agencies, academic and research institutions, industry, pipeline
safety advocates, environmental organizations, and others.

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