June 12, 2016

Risk-Informed Land Planning

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), in conjunction with pipeline industry partners, regulators and representative concerned parties, pursued a pipeline safety initiative to identify and recommend practices related to risk-informed planning for development around and near transmission pipelines.  The Pipelines and Informed Planning Alliance (PIPA) initiative was spurred by a call-to-action from the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies (TRB).  In their October 2004 report entitled Transmission Pipelines and Land Use: A Risk-Informed Approach, the TRB identified four key conclusions.

  1. Judicious land use decisions can reduce the risks associated with transmission pipelines by reducing the probabilities and the consequences of incidents.
  2. It is feasible to use a risk-informed approach to establish land use guidance for application by local governments.
  3. The federal government could serve a useful role by providing leadership in the development of risk-informed land use guidance for application by local, state, and federal governments.
  4. There is clear evidence that guidelines can be developed that would assist in preserving habitat while maintaining rights-of-way in a state that facilitates operations and inspection.

The same report contained recommendations focusing on the importance of the Office of Pipeline Safety to develop risk-informed land use guidance for application by stakeholders, including guidance on land use policies, appropriate land uses for rights-of-way, specifics on set-backs and model zoning ordinances.  Starting in January 2008, PIPA participants worked three task teams to outline best practices to protect communities, ensure better communication amongst stakeholders (those folks that live or work near a pipeline asset or have jurisdiction over that asset), and guard transmission pipelines.  Two years of research and collaboration by over 150 PIPA team members resulted in the final report: Partnering to Further Enhance Pipeline Safety in Communities Through Risk-Informed Land Use Planning Final Report of Recommended Practices November 2010.

Since the initial published report, PHMSA has developed a suite of tools to help land use decision makers.  Resource toolboxes were created for Government Officials, Property Owners/Developers, Pipeline Operators and Real Estate Commissions.  Phillips 66 Pipeline LLC encourages our communities to review the toolbox materials and follow the recommend planning practices of PIPA. By utilizing the guidance report and complimentary PIPA resources, developers, excavators, permitters and planners can help protect themselves and others from pipeline accidents, and protect pipelines from encroachments.  

Resources continue to be published to the PHMSA PIPA site.  In January 2015, PHMSA and FEMA released a new hazard mitigation guidance document prepared by PIPA team members.  The Hazard Mitigation Planning: Practices for Land Use Planning and Development Near Pipelines white paper offers ways for communities to reduce risks from pipeline incidents, including those caused by natural disaster hazards.