Monday, August 27, 2012

Implementation of the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is moving forward to implement its new statutory authority to strengthen federal pipeline safety regulations. A notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) is the first step to implement the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011, which toughened pipeline safety regulations and PHMSA's ability to enforce them.

The Act authorizes PHMSA to increase the maximum civil penalty for pipeline safety violations from $100,000 to $200,000 per violation per day. In addition, the agency will be able to collect a maximum of $2,000,000 for a related series of violations, up from $1,000,000. PHMSA proposes to apply the new maximums in cases that occur after Jan. 3, 2012, the date the Act was signed into law.

Proposed amendments to the Pipeline Safety Regulations also include technical changes and other minor corrections, including returning PHMSA's authority to enforce the provisions of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which had been transferred to the Coast Guard during the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security.

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