WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) today announced nearly $1.5 million in grants to 18 states to support pipeline damage prevention. Awarded annually, the grants are used to strengthen a state's efforts in addressing pipeline failures attributed to activities such as excavation damage, one of the leading causes of pipeline accidents resulting in fatality or injury. The grants are also used to assist states in establishing damage prevention programs where they do not currently exist.
"States and communities are our most important partners in educating the public about pipeline damage prevention, and in implementing effective damage prevention programs that prevent incidents and save lives," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "That is why we are sending this funding directly to states to support their work at the local level."
Since 2006, excavation damage resulted in over 33 human fatalities, 144 injuries, and over $249 million in property damage nationwide. PHMSA offers damage prevention grants to allow states to continue implementing the nine elements of an effective damage prevention program, outlined in the Pipeline Inspection, Protection, Enforcement and Safety Act of 2006. Program elements include the use of effective communications, partnerships, fair and consistent enforcement, training and technology to help minimize the possibility of negative consequences resulting from inadvertent contact with underground pipelines.
"Excavation damage is a leading cause of serious pipeline incidents that cause death, injuries and property damage," said PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez. "The State Damage Prevention grants help states build on best practices, and implement programs that can prevent these incidents from happening."
PHMSA offers damage prevention grants to any state authority where its governor has deemed it to be an eligible recipient, including state one call centers, pipeline safety agencies, or other organizations that support pipeline safety. Applications are received and examined by PHMSA to determine its relevance to the nine elements of an effective damage prevention program, among other criteria, prior to recommending awards of up to $100,000. Additionally, the state authority must:
1) Participate in the oversight of intrastate gas and hazardous liquid pipelines through certifications or agreements with PHMSA under 49 U.S.C. § 60105 or 49 U.S.C. § 60106; and
2) Have an effective damage prevention program or demonstrate substantial progress toward establishing a program.
PHMSA has awarded more than $12.1 million in state damage prevention grants to 40 state organizations since 2008.
The 2016 damage prevention grant award recipients are:
- Arizona: Arizona Corporation Commission - $95,232
- Colorado: Utility Notification Center of Colorado - $91,750
- Connecticut: Call Before You Dig, Inc. - $64,800
- Idaho: Idaho Division of Building Safety - $83,637
- Indiana: Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission - $100,000
- Kansas: Kansas Corporation Commission - $90,082
- Maryland: Maryland Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Authority - $97,000
- Michigan: Michigan Public Service Commission - $80,299
- Minnesota: Minnesota Office of Pipeline Safety - $100,000
- Missouri: Missouri Public Services Commission - $67,165
- Nebraska: Nebraska Pipeline Safety Division - $71,343
- Nevada: Public Utilities Commission of Nevada - $46,000
- New Jersey: New Jersey Board of Public Utilities - $100,000
- New Mexico: New Mexico Pipeline Safety Bureau - $100,000
- New York: Dig Safely New York - $75,000
- Virginia: Virginia Utility Protection Service - $86,667
- Texas: Railroad Commission of Texas - $79,650
- Washington: Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission - $71,350
More information about grants to states and communities offered by PHMSA is available on the agency's website.
The mission of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is to protect people and the environment by advancing the safe transportation of energy and other hazardous materials that are essential to our daily lives. PHMSA develops and enforces regulations for the safe operation of the nation's 2.6 million mile pipeline transportation system and the nearly 1 million daily shipments of hazardous materials by land, sea, and air. Please visit http://phmsa.dot.gov or https://twitter.com/PHMSA_DOT for more information.