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U.S. Government Accountability Office Releases Pipeline Safety Report

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report today concluding that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) needs to collect better data and provide additional guidance to improve the ability of pipeline operators to respond to incidents.  GAO prepared its report to comply with a mandate in the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011, the most recent reauthorization of the federal pipeline safety laws.  A separate provision in that law requires PHMSA to determine if new safety standards should be established for the use of automatic and remotely controlled shutoff valves on transmission lines.  The advantages and disadvantages of using automated valves is one of the issues examined in the GAO report.