PHMSA advises pipelines to share emergency plans with responders

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Nov. 5 -- The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration plans to issue an advisory bulleting reminding crude oil, natural gas, and hazardous liquids pipelines to share their emergency response plans with local emergency response officials as required under federal law.

Pipeline operators are required to have written procedures for responding to emergencies and to include provisions in those plans to coordinate pre-planned drills and actual emergency responses with appropriate fire, police, and other public officials, the US Department of Transportation agency said in a Nov. 3 Federal Register notice.

“Operators must also establish and maintain liaisons with the emergency officials to, among other things, acquaint the officials and the operator with their respective responsibilities and resources in planning for and responding to emergencies,” it continued.

Pipeline operators also should develop and implement a written public education program that follows American Petroleum Institute Recommended Practice 1162, which the federal government has incorporated by reference into its pipeline regulations, PHMSA said. RP 1162 requires an operator to include information about how public officials can have access to the operator’s emergency response plan, and to conduct emergency drills, it said.

It said that it intends to evaluate the extent to which operators have provided emergency responders with their emergency plans when the agency performs future inspections.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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