Enforcement & Inspection
The Pipeline Safety Enforcement Program is designed to monitor and enforce compliance with pipeline safety regulations and confirm operators are meeting PHMSA expectations for safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of their facilities.
PHMSA monitors compliance through field inspections of facilities and construction projects; programmatic inspections of operator management systems, procedures, and processes; incident investigations; and through direct dialogue with operator management. To facilitate compliance, PHMSA clarifies its regulatory expectations with published inspection forms and protocols; rule interpretations; guidance manuals and advisory notices; FAQs; posting of final orders on its website; and public meetings and workshops. Finally, PHMSA has available a full range of enforcement mechanisms to require that operators take appropriate and timely corrective actions for violations, and that they take preventive measures to preclude future failures or non-compliant operation of their pipelines.
Reports provide information on PHMSA's enforcement actions. State pipeline safety agencies also provide oversight and enforcement on certain intrastate pipeline facilities.
In some selected areas Enforcement Guidance is available that clarifies PHMSA's enforcement authority by identifying and summarizing precedent, including that from Interpretations, Advisory Bulletins, Final Orders, and Decisions on Petitions for Reconsideration. This guidance facilitates improved enforcement consistency, provides a strong tool for building sound enforcement cases, and is particularly helpful where precedence exists for clarifying performance-based requirements.