DOT awards LA $1.29 million for state's pipeline safety programs

Updated: Jul. 19, 2017 at 6:58 PM CDT
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(Source: KSLA News 12)
(Source: KSLA News 12)

(KSLA) - Louisiana has about 125,000 miles of natural gas pipeline.

And nationwide, such pipelines cover more miles than paved roads in the United States.

Those facts were shared Wednesday by U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson's office in announcing nearly $1.3 million to further pipeline safety in the state.

"It goes without saying that the safety during the creation and use of these pipelines is of paramount importance," the Louisiana Republican says in a statement.

Since 1997, Louisiana has recorded 32 serious pipeline incidents resulting in 14 deaths and 41 injuries, according to Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration data.

ProPublica's pipeline safety tracker shows Louisiana has had 590 pipeline incidents resulting in 20 fatalities and 96 injuries from 1986 through September 2012. These include pipelines that transport gases and hazardous liquids.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration this week announced the awarding of two grants, one for $1,092,003 and the other for $199,230, to Louisiana's Natural Resources Department to support the state's pipeline safety programs.

The U.S. Transportation Department says such programs help ensure public safety through inspections and enforcement of pipeline safety regulations, incident investigations and, when warranted, corrective actions.

"Louisiana has been a leader in the natural gas and energy industry, and these performance-based awards further illustrate the industry's commitment to its employees and the surrounding communities," Johnson said.

States receive the full payment of their fiscal year 2017 awards in May 2018 based on their actual expenses for the year.

If a state requests a midyear payment, the administration will reimburse the first half of the state's 2017 program costs once the grant is approved based on the state's actual expenses.

The Louisiana grants are part of $50,559,000 that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration is awarding to 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

States' pipeline safety programs employ about 328 people who are responsible for inspecting more than 80 percent of the intrastate transmission and distribution pipelines in the United States, according to the Transportation Department.

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