Thursday, December 13, 2012

Montana Completes Pipeline Review

Montana's Oil Pipeline Safety Review Council has completed its review of the state's pipeline infrastructure and issued its recommendations to the Montana Governor's Office. The group was formed after a July 2011 ExxonMobil pipeline spill polluted approximately 47 miles of the Yellowstone River's banks, shoreline and island vegetation. The six recommendations are...

• The Montana Department of Environmental Quality will maintain an agreement with the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the National Pipeline Mapping System to keep the Montana Pipeline Safety Map data current and available to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), and Department of Transportation (MDT). The Montana DEQ will request updated mapping information from PHMSA at least twice per year, and it will share with PHMSA any information gathered by the state that PHMSA wants to add to its mapping system.

• The Council will urge Montana's Congressional delegation to support adequate funding for PHMSA to oversee pipeline safety in Montana. The Council members will draft a letter to Montana's Congressional delegation and request regular updates on PHMSA's funding outlook.

• The Directors of the Montana Departments of Environmental Quality, Natural Resources and Conservation, and Transportation, plus one elected member of the Montana Public Service Commission will hold 2 public meetings per year on pipeline safety.

• The GIS experts from the 3 existing Council agency staff should assemble all existing channel migration information into a map feature that can be added to the Montana Pipeline Safety Map. Available sources of information include County Floodplain Managers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, The Natural Resources and Conservation Service, the state legislative Water Policy interim Committee, and the Montana Conservation Districts. This information should be consolidated by the end of calendar year 2013.

• Any spill response plans being developed, whether local or statewide, should utilize the expertise of PHMSA, the state Department of Disaster and Emergency Services, DEQ, DNRC, MDT, or any other state, federal or local governmental entity capable of assisting an emergency response and other non-governmental groups such as the International Union of Operating Engineers that may have the equipment or personnel resources to aid in a response.

• DNRC and DEQ should review and implement land use licensing and easement applications for major river crossings, and require safety and environmental measures to protect the banks and channels of the rivers at existing crossings.

Source: Montana Department of Environmental Quality

No comments: