Washington City and County Pipeline Safety Consortium

Law Review Article focused on the Pipeline Safety Act of 2002.

Carol Parker, recent graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Law and outspoken pipeline safety advocate, has published an article entitled, The Pipeline Industry Meets Grief Unimaginable: Congress Reacts with the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002. This article delves into the events leading up to enactment of this landmark statute, an analysis of the statute and its many parts and discussion of what improvements have yet to be made. The article appears in the University of New Mexico's Natural Resource Journal.


Want to know more about pipelines?

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To avoid some dumb questions -- about pipelines at least -- go to Pipelines 101. I just wish I had had a Playing at Online Casinos 101 when I started out.

UULC's Spring newsletter
The Underground Utilities Location Center (UULC) has published their spring newsletter. The newsletter discusses one-call issues and the activities of the UULC.


Williams Pipeline requested permission to open segments of pipeline

Williams Pipeline has requested to open segments of their 26 inch natural gas pipeline after conducting hydrotests and other inspections on the segments. Williams has a map showing their testing progress. For additional information about Williams see the Williams website.

Legal Aspects


Williams Northwest Pipeline Amended Corrective Action Order

Following the December 13, 2003, rupture of Williams Northwest's 26 inch natural gas pipeline near Toledo, Washington -- the second rupture in Washington state in 2003 -- the federal Office of Pipeline Safety issued an Amended Corrective Action Order. The Amended CAO requires a further reduction of the pipeline operating pressure and extensive testing and replacement of the pipeline. Please read the CAO for additional details.

Williams Pipeline's Post-Hearing Decision released

A Post-Hearing Decision was released by the federal Office of Pipeline Safety in response to hearings held in January 2004 at the request of Williams Northwest Pipeline. The Decision clarifies several questions Williams had about the Amended Corrective Action Order of December 2003. In addition two new items were added calling for periodic progress reports to the Denver office of OPS and calling for procedures in interacting with local authorities in the event rapid response is required as a result of an action Williams takes under the CAO.

For further information about the Williams rupture, please visit the WUTC website.

Olympic Pipeline's Amended Corrective Action Order

Olympic Pipeline has been under an Amended Corrective Action Order since the 1999 rupture in Bellingham, Washington.

Franchise Agreements

Franchise Agreement negotiations are beginning with Olympic Pipeline

The Consortium has marked up Olympic Pipeline's draft franchise agreement for cities and counties to use as a starting point in negotiations with Olympic. The Consortium recognizes that each jurisdiction will have its own unique issues of concern for their franchise. Our hope is that this marked-up franchise agreement will serve as a basic template for further negotiations.

Emergency First Responder Plan

Underground pipelines carrying petroleum products or natural gas exist in nearly every jurisdiction.  While these pipelines are generally the safest method of transporting hazardous chemicals, they are not failsafe.  Hazardous products releases, whether in the form of a slow leak or violent rupture, are a risk in any jurisdiction.  In 2002 a total of 50 people were injured and 11 people died as a result of pipeline incidents nationwide.  Most significantly $81,703,151 in property damage resulted.  

While local communities can’t control the safety of these pipelines, they can prepare an effective response in the case of a release.  Pipelines can carry any of 43 different hazardous products on their way from gathering points to storage areas, from refineries to customers’ homes and places of business.  It is vitally important for every jurisdiction to have an emergency response plan in place in the event of a pipeline release.  This publication has some basic information and guidelines for jurisdictions to consider when creating their Pipeline Emergency Response Plans.

Contained in this packet you will find a sample outline for the structure of an emergency response plan in the event of a pipeline release.  Following this you will find two sample city emergency response plans.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal has developed a comprehensive guidebook for pipeline emergency response which is included in this packet.  The OSFM has developed both a Western Washington and Eastern Washington Guidebook.  Finally, you will find a contact list including pipeline operators in Washington state for further information or assistance.

Local Communities


The Consortium Issues Letter Supporting Nationwide One-Call number

The Consortium issued a letter to FCC chairman Michael Powell urging implementation of a nation-wide, toll-free, three-digit number for One-Call. This number would encourage greater calls for locates because it is easy to remember and free. Having the status of a three digit number, similar to 911 for emergencies, underscores the importance of calling One-Call for locates prior to digging.

Consortium Issues Letter Supporting Collection of Fines

The Consortium has issued a letter encouraging U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta to collect fines assessed against Olympic Pipeline resulting from the June 1999 rupture in Bellingham. To view the letter please click here.

Community Right to Know

Local communities clamor for information about what is happening in their communities while increasing concerns about national security make many sources of information off limits. Where is the line drawn with regard to pipeline safety? Read the Consortium's paper, "National Security and the Public's Right to Know".