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Federal safety agency awards $60M to fund state pipeline, gas storage oversight

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Federal safety agency awards $60M to fund state pipeline, gas storage oversight

The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is giving $60.3 million in formula grants to help fund state-level pipeline and underground natural gas storage oversight, according to an Aug. 15 news release.

PHMSA-certified state pipeline safety programs monitor approximately 80% of the United States' 2.8 million miles of gas and liquids pipelines.

Pipeline safety state base grants cover roughly 80% of the yearly operating costs of a state's oversight program, based on the state estimates and each state's latest program performance scores. Similarly, the newer underground natural gas storage grants cover up to 80% of states' oversight costs. The federal regulator started giving grants to fund state inspections and implement underground natural gas storage regulations in 2018.

A federal regulation for underground gas storage, previously unregulated by PHMSA despite being within the agency's jurisdiction, has stalled at an interim stage, however. PHMSA has released its first yearly study on underground gas storage wells, many of which have aging infrastructure.