On June 13, 2016 Congress passed the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016, which is also known as the “PIPES Act.” The measure was signed into law by the President on June 22, 2016.
The PIPES Act reauthorizes PHMSA through FY 2019, improves transparency of the Administration’s rulemaking process, and gives pipeline owners and operators additional tools to further enhance the safe and efficient operation of our nation’s pipelines.
Specifically, the PIPES Act includes the following key provisions:
- Closing gaps in existing federal standards;
- Requires safety data sheets be provided to first responders within 6 hours of an incident;
- Requires an audit of the Community Pipeline Safety Information Grant program;
- Requires PHMSA to set federal minimum safety standards for underground natural gas storage facilities, and allows states to exceed those standards for intrastate facilities;
- Authorizes emergency order authority for PHMSA which takes into account customer impacts;
- Updates regulations for certain liquefied natural gas facilities to better calibrate for changing technology and markets and national security considerations;
- Increases inspection requirements for certain underwater oil pipelines to enhance safety; and
- Ensures that pipeline operators receive timely post-inspection information from PHMSA to enhance maintenance and improve safety.
Throughout the legislative deliberations, Tesoro played an active role to ensure the new PIPES Act appropriately reflected our concerns and input.