Summary: S.1583 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Senate agreed to House amendment with amendment (10/05/1992)

Pipeline Safety Act of 1992 - Title I: Natural Gas Pipeline Safety - Amends the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 to require: (1) Federal pipeline safety standards to meet the need for protection of the environment; and (2) corrective action when any pipeline facility is hazardous to the environment.

Requires the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) to issue regulations: (1) establishing criteria for operators of pipeline facilities (except natural gas distribution lines) to follow in identifying all pipeline facilities located in high-density population areas; (2) requiring pipeline operators to inspect transmission lines periodically and prescribing when instrumented internal inspection devices ("smart pigs") are to be used; and (3) prescribing circumstances under which operators of natural gas distribution systems must install excess flow valves in such systems.

Requires at least two of the public members of the Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Committee to have environmental protection or public safety backgrounds.

Requires testing and certification of all individuals responsible for the operation and maintenance of pipeline facilities, especially for their ability to recognize and appropriately react to abnormal operating conditions which may indicate a dangerous situation or a condition exceeding design limits.

Directs the Secretary: (1) to publish notice of the availability of Gas Piping Technology Committee guidelines for the replacement of cast iron pipelines; and (2) within two years after they become available to survey operators with cast iron pipe in their systems to find out which ones have adopted safe management and replacement plans.

Requires the periodic inspection of offshore pipeline facilities to include any other pipeline facilities which cross under, over, or through navigable waters if their location could pose a hazard to navigation or public safety. Requires, as well, supplementary initial inspections of certain offshore pipelines for possible exposure or hazard to navigation.

Subjects the gathering of gas through regulated gathering lines to regulation under such Act.

Grants the Secretary discretion to set the threshold amount of property damage (currently it is $5,000) caused by a reported pipeline incident which would have to be included in a State regulatory agency's annual certification to the Secretary.

Changes the due date for the Secretary's annual report to the President and the Congress from April 15 to August 15.

Increases from $10,000 to $25,000 the maximum daily civil penalty for certain violations of such Act.

Grants the pertinent district court authority to issue enforcement orders in cases of contumacy or refusal to obey subpoenas or allow inspections and examination under such Act.

Requires the Secretary to provide State officials responsible for pipeline safety in any State where a pipeline facility is located with notice and an opportunity to comment on any proposed agreement to resolve any proceeding initiated to redress or restrain a violation of such Act with respect to such facility.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1992 through FY 1995.

Directs the Secretary to issue regulations requiring operators of natural gas distribution pipelines which do not maintain customer-owned service lines up to building walls to advise their customers of maintenance requirements for those lines.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) review Federal and State rules and procedures with respect to the safety of customer-owned natural gas service lines, especially the extent to which lack of maintenance raises safety concerns; and (2) survey owners of such lines for their views on whether distribution companies should assume responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the lines. Requirers a report to the Congress and appropriate action to promote adoption of measures to improve the safety of such lines.

Limits to agencies with current certifications the authority of State agencies to adopt additional or more stringent intrastate pipeline transportation safety standards.

Requires the most recent operators of underwater abandoned pipeline facilities to report such abandonments to the Secretary, specifying whether they are proper according to Federal and State standards.

Title II: Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety - Amends the Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Act of 1979 to require: (1) Federal pipeline safety standards to meet the need for protection of the enviornment; and (2) corrective action when any pipeline facility is hazardous to the environment.

Requires the Secretary of Transportation (Secrretary) to issue regulations: (1) establishing criteria for operators of pipeline facilities (except natural gas distribution lines) to follow in identifying all pipeline facilities located in environmentally sensitive and high-density population areas; and (2) requiring pipeline operators to inspect transmission lines periodically and prescribing when smart pigs are to be used.

Requires at least two of the public members of the Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Committee to have environmental protection or public safety backgrounds.

Requires testing and certification of all individuals responsible for the operation and maintenance of pipeline facilities, especially for their ability to recognize and appropriately react to abnormal operating conditions which may indicate a dangerous situation or a condition exceeding design limits.

Prohibits the Secretary from excepting any pipeline facility to regulation under such Act solely on the basis that such facility operates at low internal stress.

Requires the periodic inspection of offshore pipeline facilities to include any other pipeline facilities which cross under, over, or through navigable waters if their location could pose a hazard to navigation or public safety. Requires, as well, supplementary initial inspection of certain offshore pipelines for possible exposure or hazard to navigation.

Subjects the gathering of gas through regulated gathering lines to regulation under such Act.

Grants the Secretary discretion to set the threshold amount of property damage (currently it is $5,000) caused by a reported pipeline incident which would have to be included in a State regulatory agency's annual certification to the Secretary.

Changes the due date for the Secretary's annual report to the President and the Congress from April 15 to August 15.

Increases from $10,000 to $25,000 the maximum daily civil penalty for certain violaitons of such Act.

Grants the pertinent distirct court authority to issue enforcement orders in cases of contumacy or refusal to obey subpoenas or allow inspections and examination under such Act.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) survey and assess the effectiveness of emergency flow restricting devices (including remotely controlled valves and check valves) and other procedures, systems, and equipment used to detect and locate pipeline ruptures and minimize product releases from pipeline facilities; and (2) issue regulations prescribing circumstances under which hazardous liquid pipeline operators must use such devices, procedures, systems, and equipment on their facilities.

Requires the Secretary to provide State officials responsible for pipeline safety in any State where a pipeline facility is located with notice and an opportunity to comment on any proposed agreement to resolve any proceeding initiated to redress or restrain a violation of such Act with respect to such facility.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1992 through FY 1995.

Limits the authority of State agencies to adopt additional or more stringent intrastate pipeline transportation safety standards to agencies with current certifications.

Requires the most recent operators of underwater abandoned pipeline facilities to report such abandonments to the Secretary, specifying whether they are proper according to Federal and State standards.

Title III: Generally Applicable Pipeline Safety Provisions - Amends the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 to authorize appropriations for grants-in-aid for FY 1992 through FY 1995.

Amends the Solid Waste Disposal Act, with respect to regulation of unerground storage tanks, to narrow the exclusion from such regulation of certain regulated pipeline facilities to facilities connected to a pipeline or operated or intended to be capable of operating at pipeline pressure or as an integral part of a pipeline.

Amends the Independent Safety Board Act of 1974 to require the Independent Safety Board to investigate pipeline accidents in which there is significant injury to the environment.

Amends the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 to set forth criminal penalties for knowing and willful excavation activities: (1) without first using an available one-call notification system to determine the location of underground facilities in the excavation area; (2) without heeding appropriate location information or markings established by an operator of a natural gas or hazardous liquid pipeline facility; and (3) subsequently damaging such an facility with resultant death, serious bodily harm, or actual property damage exceeding $50,000, or release of over 50 barrels of a hazardous liquid. Requires pipeline facility operators to mark facility locations upon notification of a damage prevention program or a plan to carry out demolition, excavation, tunneling, or construction activities in the vicinity of a facility.

Requires the Secretary to establish procedures for notifying the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of any pipeline accident in which an excavator damaging a pipeline facility may have violated OSHA regulations.

Requires the Secretary, in FY 1993, to employ an additional 12 employees for regional or field pipeline safety offices for hazardous liquid pipeline inspections.

Directs the Secretary to carry out a research and development program on underground utility location technologies. Authorizes appropriations.

Directs the Secretary to study and report to the Congress on the abandonment of underwater natural gas and hazardous liquid pipeline facilities. Authorizes the Secretary to require operators of facilities abandoned before the enactment of this Act to take additional appropriate actions to prevent hazards to navigation in connection with such facilities. Authorizes appropriations.

Title IV: Research and Special Programs Administration - Amends Federal law to establish in the Department of Transportation a Research and Special Programs Administration responsible, among other prescribed duties, for hazardous materials transportation safety, pipeline safety, and activities of the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center.

Titlte V: Hazardous Materials Transportation Act Technical Amendments - Makes technical amendments to the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act.

Exempts certain rail-motor carrier mergers that took place between November 30, 1987, and May 1, 1992, from the requirement that Federal approval be granted only if a merger: (1) is consistent with the public interest; (2) will enable the rail carrier to use motor carrier transportation to public advantage in its operations; and (3) will not unreasonably restrain competition. Requires the acquiring rail carrier (or person controlled by or affiliated with the rail carrier) to have been authorized by the Interstate Commerce Commission to provide transportation as a motor carrier before it acquired a minority stock interest in the motor carrier in question.

Title VI: Miscellaneous Provisions - Authorizes the Secretary, upon a request by Missouri for Federal Highway Administration approval of the Page Avenue Extension project, to waive, with regard to the Red Alignment plan for such project, the prohibition against Federal approval of any highway traversing a public park unless there is no feasible and prudent alternative to the use of such land. Conditions such waiver on: (1) completion by the State of a final environmental impact statement; and (2) State agreement to implement a project mitigation plan, including expansion of the Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park and a specified minimum payment from non-Federal funds. Requires stay of such waiver, if the project fails to comply with all other requirements of Federal environmental law, until the project is brought into compliance.

Amends the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 to extend the Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania, rural access project to include other projects selected by the State of Pennsylvania in Bedford, Blair, Fulton, and Huntington Counties.