Tuesday, December 28, 2010

OMB Approves TSA Pipeline Security Reporting

Last week the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the information collection request (ICR) submitted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to support their revised voluntary pipeline security program. This program will be outlined in a revised Pipeline Security Guidelines document.

Two specific types of information collection were approved in this ICR. First is the reporting of ‘security incidents and suspicious activity’ information to the Transportation Security Operations Center (TSOC). In their 30-day ICR notice TSA made it clear that they wish “to be notified of all incidents which are indicative of a deliberate attempt to disrupt pipeline operations or activities that could be precursors to such an attempt” (75 FR 49943).

The second type of information that TSA is now approved to collect is the voluntary submission of contact information for security managers and operations centers. This will enable TSA to provide timely updates of security related information to pipeline operators.

Once again, this ICR supports a voluntary security program. Congress has not provided TSA authority to mandate pipeline operator participation in a security program. Recent attacks on pipeline facilities in Canada and Mexico have not yet made sufficient impression on legislators to convince them that such attacks could actually occur in the United States.

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