Date of this Version
The Forum was organized around three panel discussions intended to prompt discussion related to and culminating in the actions that PHMSA, states, and industry can take to increase pipeline safety. First, discussions were focused on both the known and perceived risks posed by pipelines, including the means by which these risks and threats are identified, measured, and evaluated. The second objective was to discuss the nature, scope, and extent of the challenges facing the industry and regulators as they decide how best to address and eliminate or mitigate these risks, and prevent future incidents. Financially-driven challenges were addressed along with the purely technical challenges. This included discussions of rate-setting and cost recovery issues; limitations in the tools and technology available to industry; and, limitations within the sources of both the data and information upon which decisions by industry and regulators are made. Also discussed were opportunities for improvement in these areas, not just in terms of more consistent and equitable financial treatments and advancements in the hardware utilized, but also in terms of the knowledge or information gaps that must be closed in order to more effectively address these issues and the risks associated with pipelines.
Finally, all participant groups presented their views regarding what additional actions and steps can and need to be taken to address the issues raised in the first two panels, and to both reduce pipeline risks and prevent the sorts of incidents that prompted this Forum. The issues raised, questions posed, and suggestions offered will be compiled in a report by PHMSA. Working transparently and with their stakeholders, PHMSA’s report will identify actions to be taken - and accelerated - by the appropriate parties to improve the safety of the nation’s energy pipeline network and achieve the common goal to reduce the risk of harm to people and the environment due to the transportation of hazardous materials by pipelines.