Natural Gas Pipeline Safety - It's a Shared Responsibility
Serious accidents on interstate natural gas pipelines are rare. But when leaks or ruptures occur, they can cause significant harm to persons and property.
Pipeline safety is a responsibility that’s shared among many people, including pipeline company personnel, the federal and state agencies that oversee natural gas pipelines, public safety officials and -- equally as important -- our neighbors who live and work near pipelines.
That's why YOU are an integral part of the safe operation of natural gas pipelines. If there is a pipeline in your community, you need to:
1) be informed of where the pipeline facilities are located; 2) be aware of activities around these facilities, especially anything that appears to be out of the ordinary; and 3) be responsive by knowing what action to take in the unlikely event of an emergency or the presence of unusual or suspicious activity.
Here's how you can be informed, aware and responsive:
Our Commitment to the Safe Transportation of Natural Gas
Working together can keep our neighbors, communities and pipelines safe.
We, too, are concerned about any leak or rupture that could harm people or property. We work hard to prevent incidents from occurring.
We are the member companies of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), and it is our responsibility to embrace pipeline safety by implementing stringent safety programs and practices every step of the way. Safety is our core value, and the following principles guide everything we do:
The pages that follow provide information on how we are working to achieve our goals by monitoring and inspecting our systems, beginning with pipe manufacturing and continuing through design, construction and testing, and operations.
Pipelines are the Safest Way to Move Large Amounts of Energy Long Distance
One way to measure safety performance is to identify the number of accidents involving a fatality or injury. For natural gas pipelines, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) classifies these as serious incidents.
According to U.S. DOT data, natural gas transmission operators averaged five serious incidents per year between 2000 and 2010 along the approximately 300,000-mile natural gas transmission network.
In its December 2010 report, “Building Safe Communities: Pipeline Risk and its Application to Local Development Decisions,” the U.S. DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) noted that transmission pipelines had lower fatality and injury rates than railway and road transportation when hazardous materials are involved.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) performs extensive safety studies in the environmental impact statements (EIS) it conducts prior to approving any new or expanded interstate pipeline. In a May 2009 EIS, FERC’s nationwide analysis indicated there are far fewer deaths on average each year due to natural gas transmission and gathering pipeline accidents than all other categories of accidental deaths, including weather-related, poisonings and fires and burns. FERC concluded that “the available data show that natural gas pipelines continue to be a safe, reliable means of energy transportation.”