New Federal Pipeline Safety Rules Attract Criticism

In September, the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announced new pipeline safety rules. These rules increase requirements intended to ensure pipelines are kept in good condition and give the agency more authority to shut down or restrict pipeline operations.

Though praised by the industry, opponents of projects like the Mariner East liquid natural gas pipelines in Pennsylvania point out the rules’ weak spots, including the lack of a process for determining where a pipeline should be built or procedures for emergencies like leaks and explosions.

Critics also point out that Mariner East Pipeline developer Sunoco has not followed current safety practices. The company’s failure to use an anti-corrosion technique outlined in their plan led to the leak of about 20 barrels of butane and propane from Mariner East I in 2017. — By Rachael Kelley


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