U.S. wants better records for pipelines

May 8, 2012 at 9:22 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 8 (UPI) -- The Pipeline Safety Bureau of the U.S. Department of Transportation said it is considering new rules on record-keeping and pressure testing.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration called on natural gas pipeline facilities to verify their records on maximum allowable operations pressure.

"Collecting good data about pipelines is essential to keeping the people living near them safe," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.

Records regarding pressure, PHMSA said, "should be traceable, verifiable, complete and clearly linked to original information about a pipeline segment or facility."

The advisory made no mention of specific record-keeping issues or companies. A natural gas pipeline operated by California utility company Pacific Gas & Electric Co. exploded in the San Bruno neighborhood, killing eight people and damaging 38 homes in 2010.

A report from California regulators found PG&E's record-keeping on its gas transmission lines was substandard.

The PHMSA said it is seeking public comment on eliminating a grandfather clause that let operators set pressure standards on pipelines installed before 1970 using historical records.

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