49 U.S.C. § 60102 - Purpose and general authority

Cite as:49 U.S.C. § 60102
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-252 (12/22/2020)
 
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(a) PURPOSE AND MINIMUM SAFETY STANDARDS.-

(1) PURPOSE.-The purpose of this chapter is to provide adequate protection against risks to life and property posed by pipeline transportation and pipeline facilities by improving the regulatory and enforcement authority of the Secretary of Transportation.

(2) MINIMUM SAFETY STANDARDS.-The Secretary shall prescribe minimum safety standards for pipeline transportation and for pipeline facilities. The standards-

(A) apply to any or all of the owners or operators of pipeline facilities;

(B) may apply to the design, installation, inspection, emergency plans and procedures, testing, construction, extension, operation, replacement, and maintenance of pipeline facilities; and

(C) shall include a requirement that all individuals who operate and maintain pipeline facilities shall be qualified to operate and maintain the pipeline facilities.

(3) QUALIFICATIONS OF PIPELINE OPERATORS.-The qualifications applicable to an individual who operates and maintains a pipeline facility shall address the ability to recognize and react appropriately to abnormal operating conditions that may indicate a dangerous situation or a condition exceeding design limits. The operator of a pipeline facility shall ensure that employees who operate and maintain the facility are qualified to operate and maintain the pipeline facilities.

(b) PRACTICABILITY AND SAFETY NEEDS STANDARDS.-

(1) IN GENERAL.-A standard prescribed under subsection (a) shall be-

(A) practicable; and

(B) designed to meet the need for-

(i) gas pipeline safety, or safely transporting hazardous liquids, as appropriate; and

(ii) protecting the environment.

(2) FACTORS FOR CONSIDERATION.-When prescribing any standard under this section or section 60101(b), 60103, 60108, 60109, 60110, or 60113, the Secretary shall consider-

(A) relevant available-

(i) gas pipeline safety information;

(ii) hazardous liquid pipeline safety information; and

(iii) environmental information;

(B) the appropriateness of the standard for the particular type of pipeline transportation or facility;

(C) the reasonableness of the standard;

(D) based on a risk assessment, the reasonably identifiable or estimated benefits expected to result from implementation or compliance with the standard;

(E) based on a risk assessment, the reasonably identifiable or estimated costs expected to result from implementation or compliance with the standard;

(F) comments and information received from the public; and

(G) the comments and recommendations of the Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Committee, the Technical Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Standards Committee, or both, as appropriate.

(3) RISK ASSESSMENT.-In conducting a risk assessment referred to in subparagraphs (D) and (E) of paragraph (2), the Secretary shall-

(A) identify the regulatory and nonregulatory options that the Secretary considered in prescribing a proposed standard;

(B) identify the costs and benefits associated with the proposed standard;

(C) include-

(i) an explanation of the reasons for the selection of the proposed standard in lieu of the other options identified; and

(ii) with respect to each of those other options, a brief explanation of the reasons that the Secretary did not select the option; and

(D) identify technical data or other information upon which the risk assessment information and proposed standard is based.

(4) REVIEW.-

(A) IN GENERAL.-The Secretary shall-

(i) submit any risk assessment information prepared under paragraph (3) of this subsection to the Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Committee, the Technical Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Standards Committee, or both, as appropriate; and

(ii) make that risk assessment information available to the general public.

(B) PEER REVIEW PANELS.-The committees referred to in subparagraph (A) shall serve as peer review panels to review risk assessment information prepared under this section. Not later than 90 days after receiving risk assessment information for review pursuant to subparagraph (A), each committee that receives that risk assessment information shall prepare and submit to the Secretary a report that includes-

(i) an evaluation of the merit of the data and methods used; and

(ii) any recommended options relating to that risk assessment information and the associated standard that the committee determines to be appropriate.

(C) REVIEW BY SECRETARY.-Not later than 90 days after receiving a report submitted by a committee under subparagraph (B), the Secretary-

(i) shall review the report;

(ii) shall provide a written response to the committee that is the author of the report concerning all significant peer review comments and recommended alternatives contained in the report; and

(iii) may revise the risk assessment and the proposed standard before promulgating the final standard.

(5) SECRETARIAL DECISIONMAKING.-Except where otherwise required by statute, the Secretary shall propose or issue a standard under this Chapter 1 only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended standard justify its costs.

(6) EXCEPTIONS FROM APPLICATION.-The requirements of subparagraphs (D) and (E) of paragraph (2) do not apply when-

(A) the standard is the product of a negotiated rulemaking, or other rulemaking including the adoption of industry standards that receives no significant adverse comment within 60 days of notice in the Federal Register;

(B) based on a recommendation (in which three-fourths of the members voting concur) by the Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Committee, the Technical Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Standards Committee, or both, as applicable, the Secretary waives the requirements; or

(C) the Secretary finds, pursuant to section 553(b)(3)(B) of title 5, United States Code, that notice and public procedure are not required.

(7) REPORT.-Not later than March 31, 2000, the Secretary shall transmit to the Congress a report that-

(A) describes the implementation of the risk assessment requirements of this section, including the extent to which those requirements have affected regulatory decisionmaking and pipeline safety; and

(B) includes any recommendations that the Secretary determines would make the risk assessment process conducted pursuant to the requirements under this chapter a more effective means of assessing the benefits and costs associated with alternative regulatory and nonregulatory options in prescribing standards under the Federal pipeline safety regulatory program under this chapter.

(c) PUBLIC SAFETY PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS.-

(1) The Secretary shall include in the standards prescribed under subsection (a) of this section a requirement that an operator of a gas pipeline facility participate in a public safety program that-

(A) notifies an operator of proposed demolition, excavation, tunneling, or construction near or affecting the facility;

(B) requires an operator to identify a pipeline facility that may be affected by the proposed demolition, excavation, tunneling, or construction, to prevent damaging the facility; and

(C) the Secretary decides will protect a facility adequately against a hazard caused by demolition, excavation, tunneling, or construction.

(2) To the extent a public safety program referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection is not available, the Secretary shall prescribe standards requiring an operator to take action the Secretary prescribes to provide services comparable to services that would be available under a public safety program.

(3) The Secretary may include in the standards prescribed under subsection (a) of this section a requirement that an operator of a hazardous liquid pipeline facility participate in a public safety program meeting the requirements of paragraph (1) of this subsection or maintain and carry out a damage prevention program that provides services comparable to services that would be available under a public safety program.

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