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Issue Summaries

 Pipeline Safety 

Background

Safety is the highest priority in the natural gas industry. The natural gas industry has an excellent record, which is the result of extensive industry safety programs, overseen by state officials and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) under the Congressional Pipeline Inspection, Protection, Enforcement and Safety Act of 2006. Natural gas utilities spend more than $19 billion each year to help enhance the safety of natural gas distribution and transmission systems. Transportation by pipeline is the safest form of energy transportation, according to DOT statistics.

More than half of all reportable accidents on natural gas lines are caused by outside forces or “third-party” damage, often by an excavator who begins digging before utility lines are marked. In 2006, at the urging of AGA, Congress enacted legislation that encourages states to implement stronger excavation damage prevention programs. A new national 811 “Call Before You Dig” number was launched in 2007, which has helped further strengthen excavation damage prevention programs.  AGA supports the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) and its efforts to reduce damages to underground infrastructure.  Since the inception CGA in 2004, there has been, roughly, a 40 percent reduction in excavation damages.  

AGA Viewpoint

Natural gas utilities and pipelines undertake a wide range of safety programs, including participation in excavation damage prevention initiatives, installing above-ground markers to indicate the location of buried gas lines; performing visual inspections and leak surveys of their systems to identify potential problems; maintaining rigid requirements for qualification and inspection of construction techniques used in their systems; and supporting research and development focused on inspection technologies, pipeline integrity, corrosion prevention and construction techniques.

Safety is paramount in serving natural gas customers and is a critical component to future pipeline expansion plans. AGA continues to work with Congress, DOT, the National Transportation Safety Board, the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives and the public to ensure that new regulations address safety concerns effectively and efficiently.

AGA Contact: Andrew Lu, (202) 824-7000, alu@aga.org; Kyle Rogers, (202) 824-7218, krogers@aga.org

 
 

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