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Government pledges grants for Washington pipeline safety

By Timothy Schumann

$2.6 million in federal funds to inspect oil pipelines and advocate for greater pipeline safety will be flowing to Washington state soon.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission announced it will be receiving about $1.6 million in federal monies from one source to “help fund the UTC’s pipeline and damage prevention investigation and enforcement programs” Wednesday.

That source is the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, a division of the United States Department of Transportation. The $1.6 million in grants to the UTC are broken down into three categories for different intended purposes: a base grant of $1.3 million to cover operating and inspection costs related to natural gas pipeline infrastructure and storage facilities, $270k in a hazardous liquid grant for preventative safety and responsive cleanup in high consequence areas, and $46k in a One-Call grant to promote damage prevention, community notification, public information, and education.

The UTC’s Pipeline Safety Program is a regulatory body established by the state legislature in 1955. It conducts safety inspections of the operations of the 33 independent pipeline operators within Washington’s borders.

When asked about other funding for the UTC, spokesperson Emilie Brown told The Center Square, ‘“The balance not covered by the grants is funded by the pipeline companies we regulate”.

The remaining $1 million is a Technical Assistance Grant from the federal government to the Pipeline Safety Trust, a nonprofit public charity promoting pipeline safety nationally through education and advocacy based in Bellingham, WA.

The grants are issued yearly to improve the safety and reduce the inherent risk related to the 44,000 miles of natural gas and other hazardous liquid pipelines in Washington State, as well as natural gas storage facilities.

Originally published by The Center Square. Republished with permission.

To read more about pipeline infrastructure and policy, click here.

To read more about Washington state policy, click here.

Timothy Schumann
Timothy Schumann
Timothy Schumann is a contributor to The Center Square.


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