Text of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2000
The text of the bill below is as of Jul 13, 2000 (Introduced).
HR 4849 IH
H. R. 4849
To provide for enhanced safety, public awareness, and environmental protection in pipeline transportation, and for other purposes.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 13, 2000
July 13, 2000
Mr. FRANKS of New Jersey (for himself, Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN, Mr. PASCRELL, Mr. METCALF, Ms. DUNN, Mr. INSLEE, Mr. DICKS, Mr. MCDERMOTT, Mr. BAIRD, and Mr. SMITH of Washington) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and in addition to the Committee on Commerce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
To provide for enhanced safety, public awareness, and environmental protection in pipeline transportation, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; AMENDMENT OF TITLE 49, UNITED STATES CODE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.
(a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the ‘Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2000’.
(b) AMENDMENT OF TITLE 49, UNITED STATES CODE- Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in this Act an amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or a repeal of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to a section or other provision of title 49, United States Code.
SEC. 2. IMPLEMENTATION OF INSPECTOR GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS.
(a) IN GENERAL- Except as otherwise required by this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall implement the safety improvement recommendations provided for in the Department of Transportation Inspector General’s Report (RT-2000-069).
(b) REPORTS BY THE SECRETARY- Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, and every 90 days thereafter until each of the recommendations referred to in subsection (a) has been implemented, the Secretary shall transmit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives a report on the specific actions taken to implement such recommendations.
(c) REPORTS BY THE INSPECTOR GENERAL- The Inspector General shall periodically transmit to the Committees referred to in subsection (b) a report assessing the Secretary’s progress in implementing the recommendations referred to in subsection (a) and identifying options for the Secretary to consider in accelerating recommendation implementation.
SEC. 3. NTSB SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS.
(a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary of Transportation, the Administrator of the Research and Special Program Administration, and the Director of the Office of Pipeline Safety shall fully comply with section 1135 of title 49, United States Code, to ensure timely responsiveness to National Transportation Safety Board recommendations about pipeline safety.
(b) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY- The Secretary, Administrator, or Director, respectively, shall make a copy of each recommendation on pipeline safety and response, as described in section 1135(a) and (b) of title 49, United States Code, available to the public at reasonable cost.
(c) REPORTS TO CONGRESS- The Secretary, Administrator, or Director, respectively, shall submit to the Congress by January 1 of each year a report containing each recommendation on pipeline safety made by the Board during the prior year and a copy of the response to each such recommendation.
SEC. 4. QUALIFICATIONS OF PIPELINE PERSONNEL.
(a) QUALIFICATION PLAN- Each pipeline operator shall make available to the Secretary of Transportation, or, in the case of an intrastate pipeline facility operator, the appropriate State regulatory agency, a plan that is designed to enhance the qualifications of pipeline personnel and to reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries. The plan shall be made available not more than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, and the operator shall revise or update the plan as appropriate.
(b) REQUIREMENTS- The enhanced qualification plan shall include, at a minimum, criteria to demonstrate the ability of an individual to safely and properly perform tasks identified under section 60102 of title 49, United States Code. The plan shall also provide for training and periodic reexamination of pipeline personnel qualifications and provide for requalification as appropriate. The Secretary, or, in the case of an intrastate pipeline facility operator, the appropriate State regulatory agency, may review and certify the plans to determine if they are sufficient to provide a safe operating environment and shall periodically review the plans to ensure the continuation of a safe operation. The Secretary may establish minimum standards for pipeline personnel training and evaluation, which may include written examination, oral examination, work performance history review, observation during performance on the job, on the job training, simulations, or other forms of assessment.
(c) Report to Congress-
(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall submit a report to the Congress evaluating the effectiveness of operator qualification and training efforts, including--
(A) actions taken by inspectors;
(B) recommendations made by inspectors for changes to operator qualification and training programs; and
(C) industry responses to those actions and recommendations.
(2) CRITERIA- The Secretary may establish criteria for use in evaluating and reporting on operator qualification and training for purposes of this subsection.
(3) DUE DATE- The Secretary shall submit the report required by paragraph (1) to the Congress 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act.
SEC. 5. PIPELINE INTEGRITY INSPECTION PROGRAM.
Section 60109 is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘(c) Integrity Management-
‘(1) GENERAL REQUIREMENT- The Secretary shall promulgate regulations requiring operators of hazardous liquid pipelines and natural gas transmission pipelines to evaluate the risks to the operator’s pipeline facilities in areas identified pursuant to subsection (a)(1), and to adopt and implement a program for integrity management that reduces the risk of an incident in those areas. The regulations shall be issued no later than one year after the Secretary has issued standards pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) of this section or by December 31, 2001, whichever is sooner.
‘(2) STANDARDS FOR PROGRAM- In promulgating regulations under this subsection, the Secretary shall require an operator’s integrity management plan to be based on risk analysis and each plan shall include, at a minimum--
‘(A) internal inspection or pressure testing, or another equally protective methods, where these techniques are not feasible, that periodically assesses the integrity of the pipeline;
‘(B) clearly defined criteria for evaluating the results of the inspection or testing done under subparagraph (A) and procedures to ensure identified problems are corrected in a timely manner;
‘(C) measures, as appropriate, that prevent and mitigate unintended releases, such as leak detection, integrity evaluation, restrictive flow devices, or other measures; and
‘(D) a description of the operators’ consultation with State and local officials during development of the integrity management plan and actions taken by the operator to address safety concerns raised by such officials.
‘(3) CRITERIA FOR PROGRAM STANDARDS- In deciding how frequently the integrity inspections or testing under paragraph (2)(A) must be conducted, an operator shall take into account the potential for new defects developing or previously identified structural defects caused by construction or installation, the operational characteristics of the pipeline, and leak history. In addition, the Secretary may establish a minimum testing requirement for operators of pipelines to conduct internal inspections.
‘(4) STATE ROLE- A State authority that has an agreement in effect with the Secretary under section 60106 is authorized to review and assess an operator’s risk analyses and integrity management plans required under this subsection for interstate pipelines located in that State. The reviewing State authority shall provide the Secretary with a written assessment of the plans, make recommendations, as appropriate, to address safety concerns not adequately addressed in the operator’s plans, and submit documentation explaining the State-proposed plan revisions. The Secretary shall carefully consider the State’s proposals and work in consultation with the States and operators to address safety concerns.
‘(5) MONITORING IMPLEMENTATION- The Secretary shall review the risk analysis and program for integrity management required under this subsection and provide for continued monitoring of such plans. Not later than 2 years after the implementation of integrity management plans under this subsection, the Secretary shall complete an assessment and evaluation of the effects on safety and the environment of extending all of the requirements mandated by the regulations described in paragraph (1) to additional areas. The Secretary shall submit the assessment and evaluation to Congress along with any recommendations to improve and expand the utilization of integrity management plans.’.
SEC. 6. ENFORCEMENT.
(a) IN GENERAL- Section 60112 is amended--
(1) by striking subsection (a) and inserting the following:
‘(a) GENERAL AUTHORITY- After notice and an opportunity for a hearing, the Secretary of Transportation may decide a pipeline facility is hazardous if the Secretary decides that--
‘(1) operation of the facility is or would be hazardous to life, property, or the environment; or
‘(2) the facility is, or would be, constructed or operated, or a component of the facility is, or would be, constructed or operated with equipment, material, or a technique that the Secretary decides is hazardous to life, property, or the environment.’;
(2) by striking ‘is hazardous,’ in subsection (d) and inserting ‘is, or would be, hazardous’; and
(3) by adding at the end thereof the following:
‘(f) Shutdown Authority-
‘(1) IN GENERAL- If the Secretary, or, in the case of an intrastate pipeline facility operator, the appropriate State regulatory agency, determines that allowing the continued operation of a hazardous liquid or natural gas pipeline creates an imminent hazard (as defined in section 5102(5)), the Secretary or the agency shall take such action as may be necessary to prevent or restrict the operation of that system for 30 days.
‘(2) SUBSEQUENT EXTENSION AFTER NOTICE AND HEARING- After taking action under paragraph (1), the Secretary of Transportation or the agency may extend the period that action is in effect if the Secretary or the agency determines, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, that allowing the operation of the pipeline to resume would create an imminent hazard (as defined in section 5102).’.
SEC. 7. PUBLIC EDUCATION, EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, AND COMMUNITY RIGHT TO KNOW.
(a) Section 60116 is amended to read as follows:
‘Sec. 60116. Public education, emergency preparedness, and community right to know
‘(a) PUBLIC EDUCATION PROGRAMS-
‘(1) Each owner or operator of a gas or hazardous liquid pipeline facility shall carry out a continuing program to educate the public on the use of a one-call notification system prior to excavation and other damage prevention activities, the possible hazards associated with unintended releases from the pipeline facility, the physical indications that such a release may have occurred, what steps should be
taken for public safety in the event of a pipeline release, and how to report such an event.
‘(2) Within 12 months after the date of enactment of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2000, each owner or operator of a gas or hazardous liquid pipeline facility shall review its existing public education program for effectiveness and modify the program as necessary. The completed program shall include activities to advise affected municipalities, school districts, businesses, and residents of pipeline facility locations. The completed program shall be submitted to the Secretary of Transportation or, in the case of an intrastate pipeline facility operator, the appropriate State agency and shall be periodically reviewed by the Secretary or, in the case of an intrastate pipeline facility operator, the appropriate State agency.
‘(3) The Secretary may issue standards prescribing the elements of an effective public education program. The Secretary may also develop material for use in the program.
‘(b) Emergency Preparedness-
‘(1) OPERATOR LIAISON- Within 12 months after the date of enactment of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2000, an operator of a gas transmission or hazardous liquid pipeline facility shall initiate and maintain liaison with the State emergency response commissions, and local emergency planning committees in the areas of pipeline right-of-way, established under section 301 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1986 (42 U.S.C. 11001) in each State in which it operates.
‘(2) INFORMATION- An operator shall, upon request, make available to the State emergency response commissions and local emergency planning committees, and shall make available to the Office of Pipeline Safety in a standardized form for the purpose of providing the information to the public, the information described in section 60102(d), any program for integrity management, and information about implementation of that program. The information about the facility shall also include, at a minimum--
‘(A) the business name, address, telephone number of the operator, including a 24-hour emergency contact number;
‘(B) a description of the facility including pipe diameter, the product or products carried, and the operating pressure;
‘(C) with respect to transmission pipeline facilities, maps showing the location of the facility and, when available, any high consequence areas which the pipeline facility traverses or adjoins and abuts;
‘(D) a summary description of the integrity measures the operator uses to assure safety and protection for the environment; and
‘(E) a point of contact to respond to questions from emergency response representative.
‘(3) SMALLER COMMUNITIES- In a community without a local emergency planning committee, the operator shall maintain liaison with the local fire, police, and other emergency response agencies.
‘(4) PUBLIC ACCESS- The Secretary shall prescribe requirements for public access, as appropriate, to this information, including a requirement that the information be made available to the public by widely accessible computerized database.
‘(c) COMMUNITY RIGHT TO KNOW- Not later than 12 months after the date of enactment of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2000, and annually thereafter, the owner or operator of each gas transmission or hazardous liquid pipeline facility shall provide to the governing body of each municipality in which the pipeline facility is located, a map identifying the location of such facility. The map may be provided in electronic form. The Secretary may provide technical assistance to the pipeline industry on developing public safety and public education program content and best practices for program delivery, and on evaluating the effectiveness of the programs. The Secretary may also provide technical assistance to State and local officials in applying practices developed in these programs to their activities to promote pipeline safety.
‘(d) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY OF REPORTS- The Secretary shall--
‘(1) make available to the public--
‘(A) a safety-related condition report filed by an operator under section 60102(h);
‘(B) a report of a pipeline incident filed by an operator;
‘(C) the results of any inspection by the Office of Pipeline Safety or a State regulatory official; and
‘(D) a description of any corrective action taken in response to a safety-related condition reported under subparagraph (A), (B), or (C); and
‘(2) prescribe requirements for public access, as appropriate, to integrity management program information prepared under this chapter, including requirements that will ensure data accessibility to the greatest extent feasible.’.
(b) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- The chapter analysis for chapter 601 is amended by striking the item relating to section 60116 and inserting the following:
‘60116. Public education, emergency preparedness, and community right to know.’.
SEC. 8. PENALTIES.
(a) CIVIL PENALTIES- Section 60122 is amended--
(1) by striking ‘$25,000’ in subsection (a)(1) and inserting ‘$500,000’;
(2) by striking ‘$500,000’ in subsection (a)(1) and inserting ‘$1,000,000’;
(3) by adding at the end of subsection (a)(1) the following: ‘The preceding sentence does not apply to judicial enforcement action under section 60120 or 60121.’; and
(4) by striking subsection (b) and inserting the following:
‘(b) PENALTY CONSIDERATIONS- In determining the amount of a civil penalty under this section--
‘(1) the Secretary shall consider--
‘(A) the nature, circumstances, and gravity of the violation, including adverse impact on the environment;
‘(B) with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history of prior violations, the ability to pay, any effect on ability to continue doing business; and
‘(C) good faith in attempting to comply; and
‘(2) the Secretary may consider--
‘(A) the economic benefit gained from the violation without any discount because of subsequent damages; and
‘(B) other matters that justice requires.’.
(b) EXCAVATOR DAMAGE- Section 60123(d) is amended--
(1) by striking ‘knowingly and willfully’;
(2) by inserting ‘knowingly and willfully’ before ‘engages’ in paragraph (1); and
(3) striking paragraph (2)(B) and inserting the following:
‘(B) a pipeline facility, is aware of damage, and does not report the damage promptly to the operator of the pipeline facility and to other appropriate authorities; or’.
(c) CIVIL ACTIONS- Section 60120(a)(1) is amended to read as follows:
‘(1) On the request of the Secretary of Transportation, the Attorney General may bring a civil action in an appropriate district court of the United States to enforce this chapter, including section 60112 of this chapter, or a regulation prescribed or order issued under this chapter. The court may award appropriate relief, including a temporary or permanent injunction, punitive damages, and assessment of civil penalties considering the same factors as prescribed for the Secretary in an administrative case under section 60122.’.
SEC. 9. STATE OVERSIGHT ROLE.
(a) STATE AGREEMENTS WITH CERTIFICATION- Section 60106 is amended--
(1) by striking ‘GENERAL AUTHORITY- ’ in subsection (a) and inserting ‘Agreements Without Certification- ’;
(2) by redesignating subsections (b), (c), and (d) as subsections (c), (d), and (e); and
(3) by inserting after subsection (a) the following:
‘(b) Agreements With Certification-
‘(1) IN GENERAL- If the Secretary accepts a certification under section 60105 of this title and makes the determination required under this subsection, the Secretary may make an agreement with a State authority authorizing it to participate in the oversight of interstate pipeline transportation. Each such agreement shall include a plan for the State authority to participate in special investigations involving incidents or new construction and allow the State authority to participate in other activities overseeing interstate pipeline transportation or to assume additional inspection or investigatory duties.
‘(2) DETERMINATIONS REQUIRED- The Secretary may not enter into an agreement under this subsection, unless the Secretary determines that--
‘(A) the agreement allowing participation of the State authority is consistent with the Secretary’s program for inspection and consistent with the safety policies and provisions provided under this chapter;
‘(B) the interstate participation agreement would not adversely affect the oversight responsibilities of intrastate pipeline transportation by the State authority;
‘(C) the State is carrying out a program demonstrated to promote preparedness and risk prevention activities that enable communities to live safely with pipelines;
‘(D) the State meets the minimum standards for State one-call notification set forth in chapter 61; and
‘(E) the actions planned under the agreement would not impede interstate commerce or jeopardize public safety.
‘(3) EXISTING AGREEMENTS- Except as provided in subsection (e), an agreement between the Secretary and a State authority that is in effect on the date of enactment of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2000 shall remain in effect until the Secretary determines that the State meets the requirements for a determination under paragraph (2).’.
(b) ENDING AGREEMENTS- Subsection (e) of section 60106, as redesignated by subsection (a), is amended to read as follows:
‘(e) Ending Agreements-
‘(1) PERMISSIVE TERMINATION- The Secretary may end an agreement under this section when the Secretary finds that the State authority has not complied with any provision of the agreement.
‘(2) MANDATORY TERMINATION OF AGREEMENT- The Secretary shall end an agreement for the oversight of interstate pipeline transportation if the Secretary finds that--
‘(A) implementation of such agreement has resulted in a gap in the oversight responsibilities of intrastate pipeline transportation by the State authority;
‘(B) the State actions under the agreement have failed to meet the requirements under subsection (b); or
‘(C) continued participation by the State authority in the oversight of interstate pipeline transportation is not promoting pipeline safety.
‘(3) PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS- The Secretary shall give the notice and an opportunity for a hearing to a State authority before ending an agreement under this section. The Secretary may provide a State an opportunity to correct any deficiencies before ending an agreement. The finding and decision to end the agreement shall be published in the Federal Register and may not become effective for at least 15 days after the date of publication unless the Secretary finds that continuation of an agreement poses an imminent hazard.’.
(c) Continuation of Interstate Agent Agreement Authority-
(1) IN GENERAL- If an agreement was in effect in 1999 between the Secretary of Transportation or one of its agencies and a State to permit that State to oversee interstate pipeline transportation, the Secretary shall continue to permit that State to carry out activities under the agreement, including inspection responsibilities and other actions to ensure compliance with Federal pipeline safety regulations.
(2) TERMINATION- Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the Secretary may terminate an agreement described in that paragraph if--
(A) the State wishes to withdraw from the agreement;
(B) implementation of the agreement has resulted in gaps in the oversight responsibilities of intrastate pipeline transportation by the State; or
(C) the State’s oversight actions under the agreement have had an adverse impact on pipeline safety or impeded interstate commerce.
(3) PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS FOR TERMINATION- Before terminating an agreement described in paragraph (1), the Secretary shall give notice and an opportunity for a hearing to the State, and provide an opportunity for the State to correct any deficiencies. The Secretary shall publish the decision to terminate such an agreement and the reasons therefore in the Federal Register not less than 15 days before the termination is effective, unless the Secretary finds that continuation of an agreement poses an imminent hazard.
SEC. 10. IMPROVED DATA AND DATA AVAILABILITY.
(a) IN GENERAL- Within 12 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall develop and implement a comprehensive plan for the collection and use of gas and hazardous liquid pipeline data to revise the causal categories on the incident report forms to eliminate overlapping and confusing categories and include subcategories. The plan shall include components to provide the capability to perform sound incident trend analysis and evaluations of pipeline operator performance using normalized accident data.
(b) REPORT OF RELEASES EXCEEDING 5 GALLONS- Section 60117(b) is amended--
(1) by inserting ‘(1)’ before ‘To’;
(2) redesignating paragraphs (1) and (2) as subparagraphs (A) and (B);
(3) inserting before the last sentence the following:
‘(2) A person owning or operating a hazardous liquid pipeline facility shall report to the Secretary each release to the environment greater than five gallons of the hazardous liquid or carbon dioxide transported. This section applies to releases from pipeline facilities regulated under this chapter. A report must include the location of the release, fatalities and personal injuries, type of product, amount of product release, cause or causes of the release, extent of damage to property and the environment, and the response undertaken to clean up the release.
‘(3) During the course of an incident investigation, a person owning or operating a pipeline facility shall make records, reports, and information required under subsection (a) of this section or other reasonably described records, reports, and information relevant to the incident investigation, available to the Secretary within the time limits prescribed in a written request.’; and
(4) inserting ‘(4)’ before ‘The Secretary’.
(c) PENALTY AUTHORITIES- (1) Section 60122(a) is amended by striking ‘60114(c)’ and substituting ‘60117(b)(3)’.
(2) Section 60123(a) is amended by striking ‘60114(c)’ and substituting ‘60117(b)(3)’.
(d) ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL DEPOSITORY- Section 60117 is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘(l) NATIONAL DEPOSITORY- The Secretary shall establish a national depository of data on events and conditions, including spill histories and corrective actions for specific incidents, that can be used to evaluate the risk of, and to prevent, pipeline failures and releases. The Secretary shall administer the program through the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in cooperation with the Research and Special Programs Administration, and shall make such information available for use by State and local planning and emergency response authorities and the public.’.
SEC. 11. INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT.
(a) IN GENERAL- As part of the Department of Transportation’s research and development program, the Secretary of Transportation shall direct research attention to the development of alternative technologies--
(1) to expand the capabilities of internal inspection devices to identify and accurately measure defects and anomalies;
(2) to inspect pipelines that cannot accommodate internal inspection devices available on the date of enactment;
(3) to develop innovative techniques measuring the structural integrity of pipelines;
(4) to improve the capability, reliability, and practicality of external leak detection devices; and
(5) to develop and improve alternative technologies to identify and monitor outside force damage to pipelines.
(b) COOPERATIVE- The Secretary may participate in additional technological development through cooperative agreements with trade associations, academic institutions, or other qualified organizations.
SEC. 12. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
(a) GAS AND HAZARDOUS LIQUIDS- Section 60125(a) is amended to read as follows:
‘(a) GAS AND HAZARDOUS LIQUID- To carry out this chapter and other pipeline-related damage prevention activities of this title (except for section 60107), there are authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Transportation--
‘(1) $26,000,000 for fiscal year 2001, of which $20,000,000 is to be derived from user fees for fiscal year 2001 collected under section 60301 of this title; and
‘(2) $30,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2002 and 2003 of which $23,000,000 is to be derived from user fees for fiscal year 2002 and fiscal year 2003 collected under section 60301 of this title.’.
(b) GRANTS TO STATES- Section 60125(c) is amended to read as follows:
‘(c) STATE GRANTS- Not more than the following amounts may be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out section 60107--
‘(1) $17,000,000 for fiscal year 2001, of which $15,000,000 is to be derived from user fees for fiscal year 2001 collected under section 60301 of this title; and
‘(2) $20,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2002 and 2003 of which $18,000,000 is to be derived from user fees for fiscal year 2002 and fiscal year 2003 collected under section 60301 of this title.’.
(c) OIL SPILLS- Section 60125 is amended by redesignating subsections (d), (e), and (f) as subsections (e), (f), (g) and inserting after subsection (c) the following:
‘(d) OIL SPILL LIABILITY TRUST FUND- Of the amounts available in the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, $8,000,000 shall be transferred to carry out programs authorized in this Act for fiscal year 2001, fiscal year 2002, and fiscal year 2003.’.
(d) DAMAGE PREVENTION ACTIVITIES- Section 60125 is further amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
‘(h) DAMAGE PREVENTION ACTIVITIES- Out of amounts authorized under subsection (a), there are authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Transportation $500,000 for fiscal year 2001, to remain available for expenditure until the end of fiscal year 2002, to support damage prevention activities, including public education and awareness, arising out of the best practices study conducted under section 6105 of this title.’.
SEC. 13. OPERATOR ASSISTANCE IN INVESTIGATIONS.
(a) IN GENERAL- If the Department of Transportation or the National Transportation Safety Board investigate an accident, the operator involved shall make available to the representative of the Department or the Board all records and information that in any way pertain to the accident (including integrity management plans and test results), and shall afford all reasonable assistance in the investigation of the accident.
(b) HAZARDOUS FACILITY DESIGNATION- A facility operated by an operator that fails to take prompt action to relieve, reassign, or place on leave (with or without compensation) any employee whose duties affect public safety and whose performance of those duties is a subject of such an accident investigation until the conclusion of the investigation is deemed to be hazardous under section 60112. The Secretary shall take action under section 60112(d) against that facility.
SEC. 14. PROTECTION OF EMPLOYEES PROVIDING PIPELINE SAFETY INFORMATION.
(a) IN GENERAL- Chapter 601 is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘60129. Protection of employees providing pipeline safety information
‘(a) DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PIPELINE EMPLOYEES- No pipeline operator or contractor or subcontractor of a pipeline may discharge an employee or otherwise discriminate against an employee with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because the employee (or any person acting pursuant to a request of the employee)--
‘(1) provided, caused to be provided, or is about to provide (with any knowledge of the employer) or cause to be provided to the employer or Federal Government information relating to any violation or alleged violation of any order, regulation, or standard of the Research and Special Programs Administration or any other provision of Federal law relating to pipeline safety under this chapter or any other law of the United States;
‘(2) has filed, caused to be filed, or is about to file (with any knowledge of the employer) or cause to be filed a proceeding relating to any violation or alleged violation of any order, regulation, or standard of the Administration or any other provision of Federal law relating to pipeline safety under this chapter or any other law of the United States;
‘(3) testified or is about to testify in such a proceeding; or
‘(4) assisted or participated or is about to assist or participate in such a proceeding.
‘(b) DEPARTMENT OF LABOR COMPLAINT PROCEDURE-
‘(1) FILING AND NOTIFICATION- A person who believes that he or she has been discharged or otherwise discriminated against by any person in violation of subsection (a) may, not later than 90 days after the date on which such violation occurs, file (or have any person file on his or her behalf) a
complaint with the Secretary of Labor alleging such discharge or discrimination. Upon receipt of such a complaint, the Secretary of Labor shall notify, in writing, the person named in the complaint and the Administrator of the Research and Special Programs Administration of the filing of the complaint, of the allegations contained in the complaint, of the substance of evidence supporting the complaint, and of the opportunities that will be afforded to such person under paragraph (2).
‘(2) INVESTIGATION; PRELIMINARY ORDER-
‘(A) IN GENERAL- Not later than 60 days after the date of receipt of a complaint filed under paragraph (1) and after affording the person named in the complaint an opportunity to submit to the Secretary of Labor a written response to the complaint and an opportunity to meet with a representative of the Secretary to present statements from witnesses, the Secretary of Labor shall conduct an investigation and determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that the complaint has merit and notify in writing the complainant and the person alleged to have committed a violation of subsection (a) of the Secretary’s findings. If the Secretary of Labor concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation of subsection (a) has occurred, the Secretary shall accompany the Secretary’s findings with a preliminary order providing the relief prescribed by paragraph (3)(B). Not later than 30 days after the date of notification of findings under this paragraph, either the person alleged to have committed the violation or the complainant may file objections to the findings or preliminary order, or both, and request a hearing on the record. The filing of such objections shall not operate to stay any reinstatement remedy contained in the preliminary order. Such hearings shall be conducted expeditiously. If a hearing is not requested in such 30-day period, the preliminary order shall be deemed a final order that is not subject to judicial review.
‘(i) REQUIRED SHOWING BY COMPLAINANT- The Secretary of Labor shall dismiss a complaint filed under this subsection and shall not conduct an investigation otherwise required under subparagraph (A) unless the complainant makes a prima facie showing that any behavior described in paragraphs (1) through (4) of subsection (a) was a contributing factor in the unfavorable personnel action alleged in the complaint.
‘(ii) SHOWING BY EMPLOYER- Notwithstanding a finding by the Secretary that the complainant has made the showing required under clause (i), no investigation otherwise required under subparagraph (A) shall be conducted if the employer demonstrates, by clear and convincing evidence, that the employer would have taken the same unfavorable personnel action in the absence of that behavior.
‘(iii) CRITERIA FOR DETERMINATION BY SECRETARY- The Secretary may determine that a violation of subsection (a) has occurred only if the complainant demonstrates that any behavior described in paragraphs (1) through (4) of subsection (a) was a contributing factor in the unfavorable personnel action alleged in the complaint.
‘(iv) PROHIBITION- Relief may not be ordered under subparagraph (A) if the employer demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that the employer would have taken the same unfavorable personnel action in the absence of that behavior.
‘(3) FINAL ORDER-
‘(A) DEADLINE FOR ISSUANCE; SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS- Not later than 120 days after the date of conclusion of a hearing under paragraph (2), the Secretary of Labor shall issue a final order providing the relief prescribed by this paragraph or denying the complaint. At any time before issuance of a final order, a proceeding under this subsection may be terminated on the basis of a settlement agreement entered into by the Secretary of Labor, the complainant, and the person alleged to have committed the violation.
‘(B) REMEDY- If, in response to a complaint filed under paragraph (1), the Secretary of Labor determines that a violation of subsection (a) has occurred, the Secretary of Labor shall order the person who committed such violation to--
‘(i) take affirmative action to abate the violation;
‘(ii) reinstate the complainant to his or her former position together with the compensation (including back pay) and restore the terms, conditions, and privileges associated with his or her employment; and
‘(iii) provide compensatory damages to the complainant.
If such an order is issued under this paragraph, the Secretary of Labor, at the request of the complainant, shall assess against the person whom the order is issued a sum equal to the aggregate amount of all costs and expenses (including attorney’s and expert witness fees) reasonably incurred, as determined by the Secretary of Labor, by the complainant for, or in connection with, the bringing the complaint upon which the order was issued.
‘(C) FRIVOLOUS COMPLAINTS- If the Secretary of Labor finds that a complaint under paragraph (1) is frivolous or has been brought in bad faith, the Secretary of Labor may award to the prevailing employer a reasonable attorney’s fee not exceeding $1,000.
‘(A) APPEAL TO COURT OF APPEALS- Any person adversely affected or aggrieved by an order issued under paragraph (3) may obtain review of the order in the United States Court of Appeals for the circuit in which the violation, with respect to which the order was issued, allegedly occurred or the circuit in which the complainant resided on the date of such violation. The petition for review must be filed not later than 60 days after the date of issuance of the final order of the Secretary of Labor. Review shall conform to chapter 7 of title 5, United States Code. The commencement of proceedings under this subparagraph shall not, unless ordered by the court, operate as a stay of the order.
‘(B) LIMITATION ON COLLATERAL ATTACK- An order of the Secretary of Labor with respect to which review could have been obtained under subparagraph (A) shall not be subject to judicial review in any criminal or other civil proceeding.
‘(5) ENFORCEMENT OF ORDER BY SECRETARY OF LABOR- Whenever any person has failed to comply with an order issued under paragraph (3), the Secretary of Labor may file a civil action in the United States district court for the district in which the violation was found to occur to enforce such order. In actions brought under this paragraph, the district courts shall have jurisdiction to grant all appropriate relief, including, but not to be limited to, injunctive relief and compensatory damages.
‘(6) ENFORCEMENT OF ORDER BY PARTIES-
‘(A) COMMENCEMENT OF ACTION- A person on whose behalf an order was issued under paragraph (3) may commence a civil action against the person to whom such order was issued to require compliance with such order. The appropriate United States district court shall have jurisdiction, without regard to the amount in controversy or the citizenship of the parties, to enforce such order.
‘(B) ATTORNEY FEES- The court, in issuing any final order under this paragraph, may award costs of litigation (including reasonable attorney and expert witness fees) to any party whenever the court determines such award costs is appropriate.
‘(c) MANDAMUS- Any nondiscretionary duty imposed by this section shall be enforceable in a mandamus proceeding brought under section 1361 of title 28, United States Code.
‘(d) NONAPPLICABILITY TO DELIBERATE VIOLATIONS- Subsection (a) shall not apply with respect to an employee of a pipeline, contractor or subcontractor who, acting without direction from the pipeline contractor or subcontractor (or such person’s agent), deliberately causes a violation of any requirement relating to pipeline safety under this chapter or any other law of the United States.
‘(e) CONTRACTOR DEFINED- In this section, the term ‘contractor’ means a company that performs safety-sensitive functions by contract for a pipeline.’.
(b) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- The chapter analysis for chapter 601 is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘60129. Protection of employees providing pipeline safety information.’.
SEC. 15. PIPELINE SAFETY ADVISORY COUNCIL PILOT PROGRAM.
(a) PILOT PROGRAM- Within 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall create a Pipeline Safety Advisory Council pilot program. Under the pilot program, the Secretary shall establish one or more Pipeline Safety Advisory Councils to provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary on a range of hazardous liquid or natural gas transmission pipeline safety issues affecting pipelines operated in the State in which the Council is established.
(b) ESTABLISHMENT AND COMPOSITION- A Council shall be comprised of 11 members, appointed by the Secretary as follows:
(1) All members shall be residents of the State in which the pipelines are located the safety of which that Council is to review and monitor.
(2) The membership shall include representatives of--
(A) the general public (who are not representatives of any other category under this paragraph);
(B) pipeline right-of-way property owners (who are not representatives of any other category under this paragraph);
(C) local governments;
(D) emergency responders;
(E) environmental organizations; and
(F) State officials with jurisdiction over pipeline safety.
(c) FUNCTIONS- Each Advisory Council shall provide advice to the Secretary on pipeline safety regulations and other matters relating to activities and functions of
the Department of Transportation’s Office of Pipeline Safety. Each meeting shall be open to the public and the Council shall maintain minutes of each meeting. Any recommendations made by a Council shall be available upon request to other interested parties. In carrying out its advisory duties, each Council shall--
(1) provide advice and recommendations on policies, permits, and regulations relating to the operation and maintenance of pipeline facilities which affect the State to the Secretary and the Governor of the State;
(2) review and comment on proposals for new pipeline facilities in the State, including issues of public safety and environmental impact;
(3) submit advice to the Secretary on permits and standards that would affect the environment and safety of a pipeline operating in that State;
(4) submit recommendations to the Secretary and appropriate authorities of the State on standards to improve pipeline safety, accidental release responses, emergency preparedness, and efforts to help the public live safely with pipelines; and
(5) provide an annual report to the Secretary on its activities and the steps taken in the State to address its advice and safety recommendations.
(1) FUNDING REQUEST BY COUNCIL- Each Council shall submit an application for a funding request to the Secretary, at such time, in such form, and containing such information as the Secretary may require, outlining the Council’s budget.
(2) SECRETARY TO APPROVE BUDGET AND PROVIDE FUNDS- After receiving a request under paragraph (1) from a Council, the Secretary shall determine the level of Council funding and may--
(A) utilize funds obtained from fines and penalties to finance the Council; or
(B) make appropriated funds available to the Council.
(e) PILOT PROGRAM ASSESSMENT- A Council established under this section shall submit an annual report to the Secretary. The annual report shall list all activities undertaken by the Council to improve the safety of pipelines located within its State and what action taken was by the State and Department of Transportation to address pipeline operation safety as a result of the Council’s activities. Based on the submitted annual reports, and any other material a Council may submit, the Secretary shall determine the need for continuing and, if appropriate, expanding the pilot program. The Secretary shall report that determination, together with any recommendations concerning the program, to the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation by December 31, 2004.
SEC. 16. FINES AND PENALTIES.
The Inspector General of the Department of Transportation shall conduct an analysis of the Department’s assessment of fines and penalties on gas transmission and hazardous liquid pipelines, including the cost of corrective actions required by the Department in lieu of fines, and, no later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, shall provide a report to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on any findings and recommendations for actions by the Secretary or Congress to ensure the fines assessed are an effective deterrent for reducing safety risks.
SEC. 17. STUDY OF RIGHTS-OF-WAY.
The Secretary of Transportation is authorized to conduct a study on how best to preserve environmental resources in conjunction with maintaining pipeline rights-of-way. The study shall recognize pipeline operators’ regulatory obligations to maintain rights-of-way and to protect public safety.