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Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and TransportationIntroducedSeptember 28th, 2010
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Pipeline Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2010
A bill to amend title 49, United States Code, to provide for enhanced safety and environmental protection in pipeline transportation, to provide for enhanced reliability in the transportation of the Nation's energy products by pipeline, and for other purposes.
Pipeline Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2010 - Prescribes or revises requirements for safety and environmental protection in pipeline transportation. Defines the term "major consequence violation" to mean a violation that contributed to an incident resulting in: (1) one or more deaths or injuries or illnesses requiring hospitalization; (2) environmental harm exceeding $250,000 in damage, including property loss; or (3) a pipeline release of gas or hazardous liquid that ignites or presents a safety threat to the public or the environment in a high consequence area. Subjects to a civil penalty of $250,000 any person that the Secretary of Transportation has found to have committed a major consequence violation of a pipeline marking or excavation notification requirement, pipeline safety standard or regulation, or order. Authorizes the Secretary to impose a civil penalty on a person who obstructs or prevents an inspection or investigation of a gas pipeline or hazardous liquid pipeline. Prescribes a maximum civil penalty of $2.5 million for a related series of major consequence violations. Prohibits a state one-call notification program from exempting municipalities, state agencies, or their contractors from its one-call notification system requirements. Requires the Secretary to issue regulations subjecting offshore hazardous liquid gathering pipelines (except low-stress distribution pipelines) as well as those located within Gulf of Mexico inlets to the same standards and regulations as other hazardous liquid pipelines. Directs the Secretary to prescribe a regulation to require the use of automatic or remote-controlled shut-off valves (or equivalent technology) on pipelines. Requires the Secretary to prescribe regulations to require the use of excess flow valves on new or entirely replaced branch services, multi-family facilities, and small commercial facilities located in high-density population areas and environmentally sensitive areas. Directs the Secretary to evaluate specified questions with respect to integrity management safety system requirements. Requires the Secretary to maintain: (1) a monthly updated summary of all gas and hazardous liquid pipeline inspections conducted by or reported to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), (2) a list of each gas and hazardous liquid pipeline operator's facility response plan, and (3) an updated map of all pipelines located in high consequence areas that are required to meet integrity management safety regulations. Directs the Comptroller General to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the safety risks from both onshore and offshore pipelines to which federal pipeline safety requirements do not apply, including gathering lines. Directs the Secretary to update a report to Congress on leak detection systems used by hazardous liquid pipeline operators. Requires the Secretary to: (1) prescribe regulations to establish time limits for accident and incident (i.e., spill or rupture) telephonic notification by pipeline operators to state and local government officials and emergency responders, and (2) review procedures for pipeline operators and the National Response Center to provide coordinated notification to all relevant emergency response officials and revise such procedures as appropriate. Revises national pipeline mapping system requirements to require each pipeline operator to provide the Secretary certain geospatial, technical, or other pipeline data, including design and material specifications. Authorizes the Secretary to engage in activities supporting the exchange of information with domestic and international organizations about the public and environmental risks from pipelines. Directs the Secretary to review and report to Congress on all exemptions for gas and hazardous liquid gathering lines. Authorizes the Secretary to collect geospatial, technical, or other pipeline data on transportation-related oil flow lines (pipelines transporting oil off production grounds across areas not owned by the producer). Authorizes the Secretary to provide technical assistance to Alaska to achieve coordinated oversight of the construction, expansion, or operation of Alaskan pipeline systems. Authorizes the Secretary to require persons proposing the construction, expansion, or operation of certain new gas or hazardous liquid pipelines (including construction inspections and oversight) to pay the costs of pipeline design safety reviews the Secretary conducts. Establishes in the Treasury the Pipeline Safety Design Review Fund. Sets forth certain factors the Secretary shall consider in granting a pipeline operator's application for a waiver (for up to five years, renewable) of any pipeline standard. Treats as a hazardous liquid any non-petroleum fuels, including biofuels that are flammable, toxic, or corrosive or would be harmful to the environment if released in significant quantities. Directs the Secretary to prescribe minimum safety standards for the pipeline transportation of carbon dioxide in gaseous form. Directs the Secretary to study the transportation of non-petroleum hazardous liquids by pipeline, including the extent to which the safety of such lines is unregulated by states. Directs the Secretary to increase the number of PHMSA personnel by a total of 40 full-time employees to carry out the pipeline safety program.