McAfee & Taft RegLINC - May 2011: U.S. Department of Transportation unveils pipeline safety initiative By Vickie Buchanan

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Currently, more than 2.5 million miles of pipelines are operating to transport oil and gas across the nation. While incidents resulting in serious injury or death have declined nearly 50% over the past 20 years, a series of recent incidents has resulted in several fatalities. Nine fatalities were reported in 2008, 13 fatalities were reported in 2009, and 22 fatalities were reported in 2010. Because of these incidents, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced a plan aimed at making the operation of pipelines safer across the nation.

U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) has inspectors and engineers which oversee the nation’s pipelines to ensure that companies are complying with rules and regulations aimed at protecting individuals and the environment. In addition to regular inspections and audits by PHMSA, Secretary LaHood introduced additional safeguards to protect the public and recommended an increase in penalties when companies violate the law. Secretary LaHood has stated, “The safety of the American public is my top priority and I am taking on this critical issue to avoid future tragedies we have seen around the country.”

Article Authored By McAfee & Taft Attorney: Vickie Buchanan.

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