Order Code RL31391
CRS Report for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
Industry and Federal Efforts
and Associated Legislation
April 26, 2002
Paul F. Rothberg
Specialist in Science and Technology
Resources, Science, and Industry Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Pipeline Security: Industry and Federal Efforts and
Congressional interest in enhancing the security of U.S. pipelines stems from the
essential role that this infrastructure plays in the delivery of crude oil, natural gas, and
refined petroleum products, as well as associated safety and pollution risks. The
pipelines that deliver these commodities often cross heavily populated or
environmentally sensitive areas. About 272,000 miles of pipeline in the natural gas
transmission system feed a 1.2 million-mile distribution system. Through a network
of some 200,000 miles, oil pipelines carry roughly 68% of the petroleum shipped in
the United States. To address security concerns, several bills have been considered.
H.R. 3609 seeks to strengthen federal regulations regarding the security of this
infrastructure. S. 517 , as amended, includes the previously passed Senate pipeline
safety bill (S. 235) plus a new provision seeking a balance between the release of
information to meet “community right to know” interests and the withholding of
security-sensitive data about pipeline vulnerabilities. H.R. 3555 authorizes funds to
assess pipeline vulnerability and to demonstrate good security practices. H.R. 3929
authorizes $20 million for each of FY2002 through FY2006 for a cooperative federal
program for research, development, and demonstrations related to pipeline security.
Both the private and public sectors have taken steps to enhance the security of
the pipeline infrastructure. Since September 11, 2001, many pipeline companies are:
operating at a much higher state of alert, evaluating the location of control centers,
limiting access to important equipment, increasing security at plant gates, reexamining
the background of employees in key positions, posting guards at certain vulnerable
facilities to help deter a terrorist attack, and improving communications. In addition
to assessing vulnerability and identifying best security practices, the Office of Pipeline
Safety (OPS) in the Department of Transportation (DOT) serves as the major contact
point within the federal government for many pipeline security concerns.
The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America reports that there is no
specific threat to the gas-carrying infrastructure in the United States. The Association
of Oil Pipe Lines states that oil pipelines are operating under normal output levels
(conditions) and that no special security risks have been detected. But, at any time,
the risks faced by either oil or gas pipelines companies can change. The OPS in DOT
has warned that critical pipeline facilities, such as control centers, pump and
compressor stations, as well as storage facilities may be targets for terrorist attacks.
OPS assessments indicated that many of these facilities need to be better protected.
In assessing risk, pipeline releases caused by corrosion, operator error, and
third-party damage are much more prevalent than intentional actions seeking to
damage pipelines. Nevertheless, this infrastructure is so extensive that it will never
be possible to prevent an attack on the network. In fact, there may be no warning
before a catastrophic event takes place. If an attack did occur, the extent of damage
that might result, and how fast service might be restored, would depend on the
circumstances of the attack and the location and nature of the facility affected.
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Efforts and Views of the Natural Gas
Transmission and Distribution Companies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Efforts and Views of the Oil Pipeline Companies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Efforts of the Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Illustrative Legislative Measures Pertaining to Pipeline Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Concluding Observation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Pipeline Security: Industry and Federal
Efforts and Associated Legislation
In response to the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001, much attention is
focused on ways to improve national security, with particular emphasis being placed
on critical infrastructure, including oil and gas pipeline systems. The security of
pipelines is especially important because of their essential role in the delivery of crude
oil, natural gas, and numerous products of commerce, e.g., refined products made
from petroleum. This report first discusses efforts of the natural gas transmission and
distribution companies to enhance the security of their pipeline infrastructure. As
discussed below, these efforts often include: definition of the threat, development of
a notification system and security plan, deterrence of a threat (protection and
monitoring of physical infrastructure and control systems), response to and recovery
from an incident, and coordination with governmental activities.
In addition to industry efforts, several federal agencies are concerned about the
security of pipeline systems, including the new Transportation Security Administration
(TSA) and the Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) within the Department of
Transportation (DOT), the Department of Energy, and the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission. Because the OPS is the primary point of contact within the federal
government for the broad range of activities pertaining to pipeline security and
because this agency exerts a substantial regulatory role over this industry, this report
focuses on its activities.
Government and industry efforts are discussed separately in this report, but the
security of pipeline systems is being strengthened through the combined efforts of the
involved parties. An analysis of the adequacy of ongoing efforts to increase pipeline
security is beyond the scope of this report. Such an assessment would be difficult to
conduct given the sensitivity of security measures, as well as the unpredictability of
As evidenced by several hearings and bills, many in Congress are interested in
efforts underway to promote the security of the pipeline infrastructure. Legislation
intended to strengthen pipeline security is summarized in the last section.
Efforts and Views of the Natural Gas
Transmission and Distribution Companies
About 272,000 miles of pipeline infrastructure in the natural gas transmission
system feed a 1.2 million-mile distribution system to supply more than 63 million
homes and businesses throughout the Nation. Given its size and location, the task of
promoting the security of this complex infrastructure is challenging. Nevertheless, the
Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) reports that pipeline
operators are unaware of any specific threat to this infrastructure in the United
States.1 But, at any time, this situation can change. According to the INGAA,
pipeline companies are on a heightened state of alert and are working with appropriate
law enforcement agencies to ensure the continued safe operation of their facilities.2
Especially in light of the events of September 11, 2001, the natural gas
companies report that they have committed significant resources to implement
security procedures at their critical facilities. Many in the gas pipeline industry are
approaching security from a systems point of view, focusing on protection of assets,
deterrence of attacks, response to threats or events, and recovery from a release. For
example, starting with a risk-based approach that assesses consequences of a release,
potential threats specified by the FBI and an assessment of their possible outcomes,
and other factors, many companies have been identifying critical areas of their pipeline
facilities. According to the American Gas Association (AGA), actions to either
maintain or enhance security at such facilities include: strengthening emergency,
contingency, and business continuity plans; increasing liaison with law enforcement;
increasing the monitoring of visitors and vehicles on property; monitoring pipeline
flows and pressure on a 24/7 basis; increasing employee awareness to security
concerns; and deploying additional security personnel.3 Also, multiple redundancies
along the delivery system can provide operators flexibility to redirect or shut down
product flow, using compressors or valves to control flow, pressure, and direction.
During this period of uncertainty, AGA has been communicating alerts to its
members as they receive them from FBI, DOT, or Department of Energy. To
improve communications over the long-term, AGA has recommended other
approaches, such as receiving direct alerts from the FBI or using the Energy
Information and Sharing Analysis Center. ( This center consists of a secure database
and information gathering and distribution facilities that provide information on
physical or information security threats, incidents, and solutions exclusively for
professionals in the energy industries.)
Natural gas companies have much experience in preparing for and responding
to catastrophic events that affect their ability to deliver service to their customers.
They emphasize their safety and emergency response plans already in place for dealing
with more “commonplace” threats to service, e.g., earthquakes, excavators, or
floods.4 On the one hand, this experience in dealing with sudden releases provides
some degree of assurance to those concerned about sudden disruptions that might
occur from a terrorists attack. Then again, the size and nature of the damage that
See INGA web site at:
American Gas Association. Natural Gas Distribution Industry Critical Infrastructure
Security. 2002, and American Gas Association. Natural Gas Infrastructure Security–
Frequently Asked Questions. November 12, 2001.
See American Gas Association. Natural Gas infrastructure Security– Frequently Asked
might be inflicted by such an attack would depend on the specific circumstances of the
attack and the location and nature of the facility affected.
In testimony before a subcommittee of the House Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee, a spokesman for the INGAA pointed out other efforts
underway. Industry has determined that it can be more prepared to respond to a
terrorist incident if it formalizes cooperation among companies on the exchange of
spare parts. Also, industry is assessing the need for separate regional inventory
systems of critical items, and is reviewing the effectiveness of communications
concerning security with the public, local emergency planning committees, and
The gas transmission and distribution industry is proposing different levels of
threat alerts and specifying voluntary action guidelines that could be implemented at
critical facilities in response to each level of perceived threat. The industry is seeking
a common understanding with the federal government on the degree of security
preparedness and the nature of responses that will be expected from natural gas
utilities. Both industry and government are working on guidelines to determine what
is a critical pipeline facility. Commonly adopted definitions of threat levels and other
key security parameters would be intended to promote clearer communications among
government and industry. Many in the gas pipeline industry are urging federal
governmental agencies to adopt and use common definitions. They hope that these
definitions and benchmarks for security action would be adopted voluntarily and
appropriately applied to the unique operating conditions or location of each system.
AGA maintains that each utility is in the best position to determine the threats to its
system and the responses it should take. Many in industry do not want federally-set
regulations for preparedness, but favor voluntary guidelines.6
Other industry recommendations include designation of a single government
agency for oversight on critical infrastructure security; strengthening of their ability
to protect their infrastructure and rapidly repair and recover effectively from the
damage that might be caused by a terrorists attack; and passage of legislation better
protecting security-sensitive information about pipelines.
Efforts and Views of the Oil Pipeline Companies
Through a network of some 200,000 miles of infrastructure, oil pipelines carry
roughly 68% of the petroleum shipped in the United States. This infrastructure,
which delivers over 14 billion barrels of petroleum each year, contributes to the U.S.
economy, quality of life, and national security.7 Many military bases, industrial users
(e.g., power plants and chemical plants), and airports receive petroleum products
directly from pipelines. This infrastructure is frequently used to transport petroleum
Statement of William J. Haener. On Behalf of The Interstate Natural Gas Association of
America (INGAA) before the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, House Transportation
and Infrastructure. February 13, 2002.
Based on discussion with staff of the AGA, 2002.
Allegro Energy Group. How Pipelines Make the Oil Market Work–Their Networks,
Operation, and Regulation. December 2001. p. 2.
between regions–often from supply sites to consuming sites. To promote successful
pipeline operations, safety, environmental protection, and security need to be closely
integrated. To further this objective, oil pipeline companies use many different means,
including: aerial surveillance at low altitude and driving patrols to monitor activities
close to or along the pipeline rights-of way, redundant safety systems
(telecommunications, distributed control), restricting access to facilities, testing and
activation of backup control centers, and reevaluation and practicing of spill response
Since September 11, 2001, various oil pipeline companies have taken measures
to enhance the security of their operations. Working with government and others,
these companies state that they have been assessing the vulnerability of their systems
and taking such actions as: operating at a much higher state of alert, increasing
employee awareness related to security, evaluating the location of control centers,
limiting access to important equipment, increasing security at plant gates, reexamining
the background of employees in key positions, hardening (increasing the security or
survivability of) control rooms, evaluating backup control centers and their physical
relationship to operating centers, posting guards at certain vulnerable facilities to help
deter a terrorist attack, and improving communications with law enforcement and
security-related officials.8 Most companies continue to operate in a state of
In addition, the Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) and the American
Petroleum Institute (API), working together, have issued to member companies
standardized levels of alert with specific recommended actions to enhance security at
each threat level. (These recommendations are somewhat analogous to the concepts
recommended by the gas pipeline industry, which were described previously.) AOPL
and API have also drafted a guidance document on how to develop a pipeline security
plan, which is now being reviewed by their members. To a large extent, the guidelines
are analogous to an existing standard on managing pipeline integrity that has been
accepted and is being integrated into oil pipeline company operating practices. Some
companies have stated that they would add security-oriented measures into company
pipeline integrity management plans.9 Like the gas pipeline industry, the oil pipeline
industry is also trying to reconcile its levels of security threat and associated security
measures to be taken at each level of threat with the levels of security threat issued
by the Office of Homeland Security.
The AOPL states that all pipelines are operating under normal output levels
(conditions) and that no special security risks have been detected.10 Despite
substantial private and public efforts to promote security, there will always remain
certain vulnerabilities, especially when one considers the location and extent of the oil
pipeline network.11 However, it is widely recognized that the pipeline systems are so
Based on discussions with the Association of Oil Pipe Lines, 2002.
See the Association of Oil Pipe Lines website at:
For example, in October 2001, someone fired a rifle repeatedly at a segment of the Alaskan
extensive that it will never be possible to prevent an attack on the entire system. In
fact, there may be no warning before a catastrophic event takes place. But, special
emphasis can be placed on strengthening the security of especially vulnerable areas,
such as control centers, junctions, or storage (tankage) systems.
The challenge is to harden (i.e., to enhance the security of ) the pipeline system
and ensure adequate surveillance and monitoring. The main response is to recover
quickly from any interruption and limit the scope and nature of any release.12 In that
sense, the response to terrorist attacks may be similar to that taken to respond to a
more conventional release, with two major exceptions. Any terrorist attack could
result in the area surrounding the incident being declared a crime scene and potentially
limiting a company’s ability to repair the pipeline and restore service. If a radioactive
agent, a nuclear explosive, a bomb contaminated with nuclear materials or a
biochemical agent is used to rupture a pipeline, even the immediate response
(stopping the rupture, clean up, restoration) would be significantly more complicated
and much more difficult.
In addition to supporting H.R. 3609 (discussed below), AOPL favors
governmental intervention that would facilitate the ability of oil pipeline companies
to rapidly restore oil pipeline service from an interruption that might be caused by a
terrorist attack. Thus, the AOPL favors a provision in federal law that would provide
for access to land for constructing an alternative pipeline segment if a critical pipeline
segment is damaged due to a terrorist attack. Elaborating on this point a spokesman
for the AOPL and the API stated:
With regard to recovery, we believe there is a particular need for the
government to review its emergency authorities and develop workable
plans for emergency access to alternate rights of way around attack sites.
After a successful terrorist attack, the attack site may be inaccessible to the
pipeline operator for some time because of contamination or because it is
a crime scene. Yet the public interest will be the earliest resumption of
service possible. Without emergency re-routing authority, service
resumption may be unreasonably delayed.13
On the other hand, there are formal state, local, and federal procedures for the
granting of new pipelines rights-of-way and other approvals. Depending on the
location, extent, and duration of the re-routing, citizen opposition could be
oil pipeline system, ultimately penetrating the pipeline in one location. This created a
substantial oil spill requiring the shut-down of the system for several days.
Personal communication with staff of Association of Oil Pipe Lines, 2002.
Statement of William H. Shea. On Behalf of the Association of Oil Pipe Lines and the
American Petroleum Institute. Before the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. U. S.
House Committee Transportation and Infrastructure. February 13, 2002.
Efforts of the Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS)
The fundamental functions of the OPS include promoting the safety of pipeline
systems and conducting activities intended to reduce environmental impacts caused
by pipeline releases. Through its enforcement of the traditional pipeline safety
regulations, oversight and promotion of integrity management plans, sponsored drills
of oil spill response plans, and various outreach activities with industry, OPS seeks
to reduce the probability of a pipeline release, and improve emergency response in the
event of a release. As discussed below, these functions are intertwined with
promoting the security of pipeline systems.
There are many OPS regulations that have important implications for promoting
security and improving responses to releases, whether such releases occur from
natural causes, by excavators, or from a malicious action. For example, OPS requires
specified pipeline operators to prepare and follow for each pipeline a manual of
written procedures for emergency response, (see 49 Code of Federal Regulations
(CFR) 192.605). In 49 CFR 192.615 OPS requires specified operators to establish
written procedures to minimize the hazards from a gas pipeline emergency, including
procedures for establishing and maintaining communications with governmental
emergency response and other public officials. Also, OPS specifies detailed security
standards for liquefied natural gas facilities, (see 49 CFR Subpart J of Part 193).
Those regulations pertain to protective enclosures, security communications, and
security lighting and monitoring. In addition, specified oil pipeline companies are
required to prepare oil spill contingency plans intended to promote effective response
to releases. OPS approves the spill response plans for specified hazardous liquids
operators.14 Federal regulations also specify that certain releases or spills from liquid
and gas pipelines must be reported to DOT’s National Response Center, (see 49 CFR
195.52 and 191).
Especially during the last 5 years, OPS has conducted many activities that
promote industry’s implementation of integrity management programs, which have
particular implications for promoting pipeline security. OPS has issued new safety
standards requiring the implementation of such programs, which must provide for
continual assessment and evaluation of certain pipeline segments, inspection or
testing, data analysis, and followup repair as well as preventive or mitigative actions
on pipeline segments transporting hazardous liquids that are located in or could affect
high consequence areas.15 If an operator knows or it is reasonable to anticipate that
there is a threat due to a terrorist activity, the operator must consider that risk in
developing its integrity management program, according to OPS. That agency is
expected to propose comparable regulations for gas pipeline segments.
In response to the September 11, 2001 attacks and other concerns, OPS issued
several emergency bulletins to numerous oil and gas pipeline companies to
Those entities covered under the federal pipeline safety regulations should refer directly to
the CFR and should not depend upon the summary presented above.
DOT. RSPA. Pipeline Safety. Pipeline Integrity Management in High Consequence Areas
(Hazardous Liquid Operators with 500 or More Miles of Pipeline). Federal Register. Dec.
1. 2000: 75378. High consequence areas include populated areas, commercially navigable
waters, and unusually sensitive areas, including drinking water or ecological resource areas.
communicate the need for a heightened state of alert in the pipeline industry.
According to a DOT official, “OPS personnel made immediate and individual
telephone contact with all major pipeline operators to ensure that communication was
open and viable between our offices and that they understood and adhered to the
security issues. Additionally, OPS personnel contacted all of the State pipeline safety
programs to provide them with security information.”16 Soon after September 11,
2001, the OPS, because of national security concerns, removed from its web site
detailed maps of the country’s pipeline infrastructure.
Also, OPS has conducted a vulnerability assessment that was used to identify
which pipeline facilities are the “most critical.” Because of their importance to
meeting energy demands, and because of their proximity often to highly populated or
environmentally sensitive areas, it is reasonable to assume that many pipeline systems
were judged by OPS to be of a “critical” nature with respect to security
considerations. DOT has not released the number of pipeline systems that they judged
to meet this standard. OPS continues to work with various industry groups and state
pipeline safety organizations “... to assess the industry’s readiness to prepare for,
withstand and respond to a terrorist attack on the nation’s pipeline infrastructure.”17
OPS has warned that critical pipeline facilities, such as control centers, pump and
compressor stations, as well as storage facilities may be targets for terrorist attacks.
OPS assessments indicate that many of these facilities need to be better protected.18
OPS is working with several industry security task groups to assess
vulnerabilities of pipeline facilities, identify specific actions that should be taken to
strengthen protections at critical pipeline facilities, define different levels of criticality
of pipeline facilities, and to develop plans to improve response and recovery
preparedness.19 Together with DOE and state pipeline agencies, OPS is promoting
the development of consensus standards for security practices that OPS expects
industry to implement at different levels of security threats at critical facilities. These
different levels are now being tiered to correspond with the five levels of threat
warnings that were issued by the Office of Homeland Security. 20 OPS is also
developing a set of protocols for its personnel to use during inspections of pipeline
facilities to ensure that operators are implementing appropriate security practices at
To convey emergency information and appropriate warnings, DOT has
established a variety of communication systems with key staff at the “most critical”
pipeline facilities throughout the country. OPS also has surveyed many pipeline
companies to assess the security measures that have been taken since September 11.
OPS is also identifying near-term technology to enhance deterrence, detection,
Statement of Ellen Engleman. Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant
Marine. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. October 10, 2001.
RSPA. OPS. RSPA Pipeline Security Preparedness. December 2001.
U.S. DOT. RSPA. Budget Estimates Fiscal Year 2003. p. 106.
Security measures may be tied to the level of criticality of a particular facility or
segment of pipe.
Statement of Ellen Engleman. Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality. House Energy and
Commerce Committee. March 19, 2002.
response and recovery, and is seeking to advance public and private sector planning
for response and recovery.21
For many years, OPS has been conducting, with federal, state, and industry
representatives, drills practicing emergency response to oil spills. The lessons learned
from these exercises, as well as the formal and informal relationships established
during these drills, could help prepare for releases caused by a terrorist attack of a
pipeline systems. Emergency responders agree that it is much better to conduct
planning and to develop relationships that improve coordination and response during
a practice drill, than when there is an actual incident. Also, OPS is meeting with
FERC, industry, and state agencies to explore recovery and response issues associated
with possible terrorists attacks. Of concern is what strategies, authorities, and
processes need to be in place, and what training and credentials need to be finalized
in order to better plan for and respond to a terrorist attack.
It remains unclear when or which aspects of the security-oriented functions of
OPS will be transferred to the new Transportation Security Administration within
DOT. In view of this uncertainty, congressional oversight of the division of
responsibility, possible transfer of personnel and funds, as well as legislative
authorities may be warranted. Furthermore, as Congress debates reauthorization of
pipeline safety legislation, it may be useful to consider the relative importance of OPS
responsibilities regarding enhancement of safety, protection of the environment, and
oversight of industry’s security measures and capability to respond to terrorist
Illustrative Legislative Measures Pertaining to
The issue of pipeline security has been discussed primarily within the context of
pipeline safety, energy policy and security legislation. One of the bills that includes
specific provisions pertaining to pipeline security is H.R. 3609, the “Pipeline
Infrastructure Protection To Enhance Security and Safety Act,” which was introduced
by Representative Don Young and others on December 28, 2001. Introduced on
March 12, 2001 by Senator Jeff Bingaman and others, S. 517 (as amended), also
popularly referred to as the “Energy Security Policy” bill, includes a provision
pertaining to security-sensitive information on pipelines. Two other bills that include
provisions pertaining to pipeline security are H.R. 3555, “United States Security
(USA) Act of 2001,” introduced by Representative Robert Menendez and others on
December 20, 2001, and H.R. 3929, “Energy Pipeline Research, Development, and
Statement of Ellen Engleman. Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. February 13, 2002.
This report covers primarily bills pertaining specifically to pipeline operators, and mentions
but does not emphasize illustrative legislation seeking to enhance the security of the Nation’s
critical energy infrastructure.
Demonstration Act,” introduced by Representative Ralph Hall and others on March
H.R. 3609 specifies that the DOT Secretary is to require the operator of a
pipeline facility to develop and implement a “terrorism security program,” consisting
of written procedures to follow and actions to take in the event of a terrorist attack
on a pipeline facility or on other U.S. infrastructure facilities. The operator is to
establish and implement reasonable procedures to safeguard the pipeline facility and
safely maintain its operations. Those procedures are to include procedures for
communicating with military, law enforcement, emergency service, and other
appropriate governmental and non-governmental entities. The bill states that if DOT
decides that a pipeline facility has a vulnerability to terrorist attacks, the Secretary
may recommend that the operator of that facility take necessary actions to eliminate
or reduce that vulnerability.
H.R. 3609 also requires the DOT Secretary to conduct a review of, and approve
or disapprove, the security program of each pipeline operator. The bill also authorizes
the Secretary to provide technical assistance to an operator of a pipeline facility, or
to state, local, or tribal officials, to prevent or respond to acts of terrorism that may
affect a pipeline facility. In addition, H.R. 3609 specifies that a person who knowingly
and willfully damages or destroys, or attempts to damage or destroy, an interstate gas
pipeline facility or interstate hazardous liquid pipeline facility, as an act of terrorism
or for any other purpose, shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than
15 years, or both.
S. 517 (as amended) includes the previously passed Senate pipeline safety bill (S.
235) (with minor changes) plus a new provision pertaining to the protection of
security-sensitive information regarding pipelines. The bill seeks to ensure that if
DOT obtains such information, it is only released with adequate protection to
specified parties. (H.R. 3609 includes a similar provision.) Many seek a balance
between protecting information about the specific operating condition of a pipeline
system that might be used by a terrorist to do harm and providing relevant information
to citizen groups and others who are monitoring the performance and safety of a
particular pipeline segment. Some are concerned that legislation to limit access to
information about infrastructure vulnerability could allow companies to conceal data
on safety challenges from those overseeing pipeline operations. On the other hand,
others are concerned that easy access to security-sensitive information could endanger
property and lives.
H.R. 3555 authorizes $5 million for fiscal year 2002 for the Secretary of
Transportation to enter into an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences
for a comprehensive study of the security of energy pipelines, including issues related
to monitoring, hardening of facilities, and hiring and training of security personnel.
The bill also provides that not later than one year after the date of its enactment, the
Secretary of Energy shall transmit to Congress a report describing the results of a risk
management assessment of oil refineries and natural gas and liquid natural gas storage
Hearings have been held on H.R. 3609 and discussions are underway that may lead to a
markup of an amended bill. S. 517 passed the Senate as an amended version of H.R. 4. H.R.
3555 has been referred to several committees. H.R. 3929, as amended, was reported out of
the House Science Committee.
facilities in the United States. The report is to include the results of a threat,
vulnerability, and criticality assessment of such facilities. The bill authorizes $25
million for the study and $25 million for support of projects to demonstrate the best
practices identified by the study and other appropriate topics.
H.R. 3929 authorizes $ 20 million for each of the fiscal years 2002 through 2006
for a cooperative federal program for research, development, demonstration, and
standardization activities related to pipeline security, including improving the
surveillance of pipeline rights–of–way, and for other purposes. The program would
be conducted by the Department of Energy, DOT, and the National Institute of
Standards and Technology in the Department of Commerce.
It is important to place the threat posed by terrorists to pipelines in perspective.
Pipeline releases from corrosion, operator error, third-party damage, and other
causes, are much more prevalent than intentional actions seeking to damage
pipelines.24 There are hundreds of unintentional releases from pipelines each year,
and probably less than a handful, if that many, of intentional releases. Nevertheless,
actions to reduce and planning to respond to the terrorist threat appears warranted
because a well planned attack on a pipeline system located in a heavily populated area
could result in a substantial number of deaths and injuries. Likewise, an attack on a
system crossing or affecting an environmentally sensitive area could adversely affect
water quality and wildlife. Because of the importance of pipeline security, continued
congressional oversight to assess the adequacy and costs of OPS involvement in this
area appears likely. Given the limited resources of the Pipeline Safety Fund, (which
pays for most of the OPS program), several questions are raised:
If substantial funds and personnel resources are allocated towards security concerns,
will implementation of OPS safety and environmental responsibilities be adversely
affected? If some OPS resources are transferred to the TSA, how will this impact
implementation of the more traditional OPS program?
Statement of Lois N. Epstein. On behalf of Cook Inlet Keeper. Subcommittee on
Highways and Transit Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. February 13, 2002.