The U.S. pipeline system, already besieged by a myriad of problems, will now get a greater degree of oversight, including a doubling of fines for mishaps, under proposed rules announced by the Department of Transportation.
The proposed rules, which follow high-profile oil leaks in the United States, are a way to implement the bipartisan pipeline safety act Congress passed last year.
“There are 2.6 million miles of pipeline crisscrossing this nation that impact each and every one of us,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Our job at the Department of Transportation is to make sure they operate safely.”
The act authorizes the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to double the maximum civil penalty to $200,000 per violation per day. It also raises the fine for a series of related violations to $2 million from $1 million.
The fine structure under the rule, subject to a 30-day comment period, would be effective from Jan. 3, 2012, the day President Barack Obama signed the act into law.
Canada’s Enbridge Inc has come under criticism from federal regulators over its pipeline leaks, including its most recent spill that shut a line that feeds Chicago refiners for 11 days earlier this month.