Saturday, April 6, 2024

GAO Reports – Week of 3-3-24 – Gas Pipeline Safety Regulatory Scheme

This week the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report on “Gas Pipeline Safety:

Better Data and Planning Would Improve Implementation of Regulatory Changes”. The report looks at two recent major changes to the pipeline safety regulations (2019 final rule and 2022 final rule) and PHMSA’s implementation efforts. Based upon their review of the problems that PHMSA and the gas pipeline industry had with the implementation of the 2019 rule, GAO is making the following recommendations for the 2022 rule implementation and for planned future rules.

• The Administrator of PHMSA should, as PHMSA considers possible changes to the potential impact radius calculation, evaluate what additional data are needed from operators to better understand the actual impact of pipeline incidents. (Recommendation 1)

• The Administrator of PHMSA should develop an implementation plan for the remaining activities for the 2022 final rule that includes clear objectives, timelines, and an outreach strategy. (Recommendation 2)

• The Administrator of PHMSA should update the 2019 and 2022 Gas Transmission Final Rule Implementation web pages to increase accessibility to rule implementation information. (Recommendation 3)

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