Pipeline Safety: Status of Improving Oversight of the Pipeline Industry

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Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) oversees 2.2 million miles of pipelines that transport potentially dangerous materials, such as oil and natural gas. OPS has been slow to improve its oversight of the pipeline industry and implement critical pipeline safety improvements. As a result, OPS has the lowest rate of any transportation agency for implementing the recommendations of the National Transportation Safety Board. In recent years, OPS has taken several steps to improve its oversight of the pipeline industry, including requiring "integrity management" programs for individual operators to ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. March 19, 2002.

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Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) oversees 2.2 million miles of pipelines that transport potentially dangerous materials, such as oil and natural gas. OPS has been slow to improve its oversight of the pipeline industry and implement critical pipeline safety improvements. As a result, OPS has the lowest rate of any transportation agency for implementing the recommendations of the National Transportation Safety Board. In recent years, OPS has taken several steps to improve its oversight of the pipeline industry, including requiring "integrity management" programs for individual operators to assess their pipelines for risks, take action to mitigate the risks, and develop program performance measures. OPS has also (1) revised forms and procedures to collect more complete and accurate data, which will enable OPS to better assess the causes of incidents and focus on the greatest risks to pipelines; (2) allowed more states to oversee a broader range of interstate pipeline safety activities; and (3) increased the use of fines. OPS has made progress in responding to recommendations from the Safety Board and statutory requirements, but some key open recommendations and requirements, such as requiring pipeline operators to periodically inspect their pipelines, are now more than a decade old. OPS faces challenges that include (1) developing performance measures for the integrity management approach, (2) ensuring sufficient resources and expertise to oversee operators' integrity management programs, (3) providing consistent and effective enforcement of integrity management program requirements, and (4) issuing requirements for integrity management programs for operators of gas transmission pipelines."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • March 19, 2002

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  • June 10, 2014, 6:42 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Pipeline Safety: Status of Improving Oversight of the Pipeline Industry, text, March 19, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc290261/: accessed December 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.