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New Pipeline Safety Guidelines Released by DOT

In order to promote safety in areas surrounding transmission pipelines, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released some new pipeline safety guidelines. The hope is that local governments, communities and developers will utilize the guidelines to ensure safety in communities near transmission pipelines, thus reducing the risk of pipeline injuries in populated areas.

The guidelines are listed in a report, entitled Partnering to Further Enhance Pipeline Safety in Communities through Risk-Informed Land Use Planning, and were developed by the Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA). They are the product of the first attempt to address issues of developing communities near transmission pipelines. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the issue has become pressing, as residences and businesses continue to pop up over the country, oftentimes with transmission pipelines in close proximity. LaHood said ensuring safety in communities is the DOT's first priority, and noted that these pipeline guidelines will help to achieve that goal.

The guidelines include 50 recommended practices for communities, pipeline operators and developers to heed in order to reduce the risk of building communities near existing transmission pipelines. Included in the report are tips for how communities and developers can obtain information about the pipelines in their area. Further, the report provides recommendations of how to maintain open communication with pipeline operators during new development to decrease any safety risks. Also, the guidelines offer advice for communities and developers on how to strategically plan to protect existing pipeline infrastructure.

PIPA, which created the guidelines, is comprised of 130 members, including national and local government officials, pipeline operators, pipeline safety experts and the general public. This well-rounded coalition is led by the DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

Source: Occupational Safety & Health "DOT Releases New Safety Guidelines for Transmission Pipelines," 22 December 2010

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