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PHMSA issues grants to encourage involvement in pipeline safety efforts

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World Pipelines,

The US Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced that it is issuing US$2 488 497 in grants to state entities, local communities, and non-profit organisations to address pipeline safety challenges related to damage prevention and to promote more involvement in local pipeline safety initiatives and awareness efforts. The grants are being awarded to governmental entities and organisations spread across 24 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

"The grants we're issuing today are more than just about protecting pipelines or promoting awareness, it's about saving lives," said US Transportation Secretary, Elaine L. Chao. "States and localities know best what their unique challenges are and these grants will help them develop specific solutions to meet their individual pipeline safety needs."

Of the grants issued, PHMSA is awarding US$1 499 939 in State Damage Prevention (SDP) programme grants to 16 states and Puerto Rico. Awarded annually, the grants are used to strengthen 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 in establishing damage prevention programmes where they do not currently exist.

Since 2006, excavation damage has resulted in over 33 human fatalities, 144 injuries, and over Us$249 million in property damage nationwide. PHMSA has awarded more than US$13.6 million in SDP grants to 40 state entities since 2008 to encourage states to continue implementing the nine elements of an effective damage prevention programme, outlined in the Pipeline Inspection, Protection, Enforcement and Safety Act of 2006. Programme elements include the use of effective communications, partnerships, fair and consistent enforcement, training, and technology to help minimise the possibility of negative consequences resulting from inadvertent contact with underground pipelines.

To accompany its SDP grants, PHMSA awarded a total of US$988 558 in pipeline safety grants for technical assistance to 12 local community and non-profit organisations. PHMSA's Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) programme encourages local communities and non-profit organisations to help communities develop pipeline safety and education programs specific to their needs through technical assistance.

The TAG awards provide funding for a broad range of activities, including improving or developing local pipeline emergency response capabilities, safe digging or damage prevention programmes, pipeline safety information resources, community and pipeline awareness campaigns, and public participation in official proceedings that pertain to pipelines.

Since the TAG program's inception in 2009, PHMSA has awarded more than US$7 million to fund 166 individual technical assistance projects to help local communities and organisations address their pipeline safety needs.

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US pipeline news PHMSA pipeline news