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Despite drilling slowdown, pipeline safety remains a priority

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Pipeline safety attorney, Dan Garcia, has announced today that he has started a new consulting company, Pipeline Compliance Group, LLC (www.pipelinecgllc.com) to provide pipeline safety consulting to local governments and pipeline safety and regulatory consulting for pipeline operators.

For Garcia, a primary focus will be pipeline public awareness programs as required by federal regulation, or, as it is known in the pipeline industry, RP-1162 Public Awareness Programs.  The RP-1162 Public Awareness Program was developed by the American Petroleum Institute as a recommended practice, which was then incorporated into the pipeline safety regulations, requiring pipeline operators and gas utilities to develop and perform public awareness campaigns in an effort to reduce pipeline accidents.

Federal enforcement of these programs is now managed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) to ensure pipeline safety awareness messages are being developed, communicated, and recorded effectively.  Most recently, PHMSA released a Notice for Proposed Rulemaking which seeks to expand PHMSA oversight of Type A lines in Class 1 locations for lines 8-inches or greater.  These particular gathering lines have been under increased scrutiny lately due to their status as ‘unregulated’ pipelines. If this proposed rule is approved, these types of programs will extend to those gathering lines as well.

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According to Garcia, “There is significantly greater public scrutiny over natural gas development and pipelines are not immune.  Regardless of commodity price fluctuations, state and federal inspectors will respond to this public pressure by increasing their audits of these types of regulated programs.”

Those are the very programs Pipeline Compliance Group aims to help develop.

Additionally, many of our municipalities are finding themselves staring down the fairway of a new pipeline easement.  For many of these elected officials, this is their first time encountering a pipeline operator and the first time hearing some of the more technical aspects of pipeline development.  Pipeline Compliance Group recognizes the need to provide these local governments with help navigating the federal regulatory requirements governing pipeline safety.

“My role isn’t to convince the elected official to support or object to pipelines; my role is to “call balls and strikes” by educating the local official on federal pipeline safety regulations and ensure they have [pipeline safety] expertise available to them. This makes a safer environment for all involved.”

Garcia was compelled to start up Pipeline Compliance Group to close the communication gap between pipeline operator, local official, emergency responders, and the affected public.

“Everyone has a role and responsibility to ensure our pipelines remain the safest mode of transportation for our commodities.  As our population grows and becomes denser in formally rural areas, understanding pipeline safety and our roles in ensuring it remains safe becomes a priority.”

To learn more about pipeline safety awareness programs or about Pipeline Compliance Group, LLC, please contact Dan Garcia at dgarcia@pipelinecgllc.com

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