Whether the threat is natural causes, terrorist activities or careless excavation, the inherent design and operation of the natural gas pipeline system reduces the probability that an incident will have a significant adverse impact on the nation. Many of the inherent characteristics of the natural gas pipeline system that contribute to public safety in the vicinity of a pipeline also minimize the impact on energy delivery should terrorist activity target a pipeline.
The natural gas pipeline industry is diligently taking steps to safeguard critical facilities against physical threats and to ensure the ability to recover from any disruption on an expedited basis.
The industry’s concerns are twofold. First and always, pipeline companies are concerned for the well-being of people who live or work at the point of incidence of any. Still, relative to other potential terrorist targets, there is a low probability of fatalities and injuries at the point of disruption, because the majority of the interstate pipeline infrastructure is located in remote, sparsely populated areas and is buried underground. Further, emergency responders and gas company personnel are trained, and are continually receiving additional training, to control such an event.
Beyond the point of disruption, operators are also concerned about the consequences of a loss of gas service to the thousands of individuals, businesses, industries and electric generators that rely directly or indirectly on the supply provided by the interstate pipeline.