PHMSA issued the Pipeline Damage Prevention Programs Final Rule and thereby established the process for evaluating state excavation damage prevention programs. This final ruling also established a federal standard for enforcement in states where such requirements were inadequate or non-existent. In response to the passing of the rule, PHMSA Interim Executive Director Stacy Cummings reported, “Between 1988 and 2014, there were 1,815 pipeline incidents caused by excavation damage that resulted in 193 deaths, 757 injuries, and nearly $545 million in property damage. This rule represents a critical achievement in the Department’s continuing efforts to prevent excavation damage to pipelines.”
Specifically, the Pipeline Damage Prevention Programs Final Rule establishes the following items copied directly from PHMSA’s website:
In 2006, the PIPES Act gave PHMSA authority to develop criteria for evaluating state damage prevention laws as well as legal enforcement authority over excavation violators. Since 2006, PHMSA has exercised a variety of avenues to reduce excavation damage to pipelines, including performing studies, forming partnerships with stakeholders, advocacy, grant making, and rule making. In 2009, PHMSA published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the excavation damage rule, followed by a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in 2012.
According to PHMSA, the Pipeline Damage Prevention Programs Final Rule has been transmitted to the Federal Register for publication, and an actual date of publication will be determined by the Federal Register.
For more information, visit the PHMSA website at www.phmsa.dot.gov