THE SOURCE - Fall 2016 - (Page 33)

the pipeline Serving the Public By John Erickson f ederal pipeline safety regulations for gas pipelines and hazardous liquid pipelines require pipeline operators, including local gas distribution operators, to develop and implement continuing public awareness programs (PaP) to provide pipeline safety information to four specific stakeholder audiences: the affected public, emergency officials, local public officials, and excavators. In addition, operators are required to follow the guidance in the american Petroleum Institute's (aPI) Recommended Practice (RP) 1162. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety administration (PHMSa) issued a report on May 16 on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of pipeline public awareness programs. The report was the result of an 18-month effort by a working group of pipeline safety stakeholders including federal and state pipeline safety regulators, gas and hazardous liquid pipeline operators, municipal gas distribution system operators, emergency response organizations, public safety officials, excavators, and others representing public pipeline safety interests. among the key findings of the report are that the collaborative public awareness efforts among stakeholders can be effective with the public. Where stakeholders share some common safety messages and collaborate to get that message out, message recognition can improve and information overload can be reduced. In states such as Tennessee, natural gas distribution operators pool resources to fund state-wide media campaigns to inform the public about natural gas safety. another example, in geographic areas where multiple pipeline operators have facilities located, there may be opportunities to conduct and engage in joint pipeline awareness meetings. However, there are concerns with how operators could implement collaborative efforts and demonstrate they are meeting regulatory requirements and measure program effectiveness. The report recognized that the way operators' public awareness programs are audited by state and federal regulators can have unexpected adverse consequences if such collaborative programs are disallowed. The report found that the national 811 Call Before You Dig number is a simple and effective consolidated message. This widespread effort to promote the use of 811 and raise awareness among professional excavators, along with the safe digging message it imparts, is improving. The report concluded that there are fundamental differences between interstate pipelines and distribution systems that affect how public awareness programs are developed and implemented. While interstate pipeline operators prefer to distance their facilities from populated areas, distribution operators must install distribution pipelines in developed areas to serve customers. The relationships between these differing categories of operators and their stakeholder audiences dictate differences in message-delivery methods and effectiveness evaluation processes that pose challenges to compliance with public awareness regulations. In addition, the report noted that affected stakeholders of small distribution pipeline operators, particularly municipally-owned systems, have unique awareness needs. The level of awareness among these audiences is often relatively high due to a deep level of market penetration and decades of receiving services from the operators. This characteristic makes improving stakeholder awareness levels challenging as the level of awareness was already high before the new public awareness requirements took effect in 2006. continued on page 34 THE SOURCE | fall 2016, vOl. 9, ISSUE 1 33 »

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of THE SOURCE - Fall 2016

First Person
APGA Events
Q&A: Representative Blackburn
A Successful CNG from Sea to Shining Sea Road Rally
Richmond Breweries Tout Benefits of Natural Gas
Presidential Candidates Outline their Energy Plans
The Rising Cost of Natural Gas Transport
CNG for Public Transportation
APGA Hosts Second Southeast Tour
Legislative Outlook
The Pipeline
Marketing Matters
Advertisers’ Index/
At Last

THE SOURCE - Fall 2016