Making State Gas Pipelines Safe and Reliable: An Assessment of State Policy


NCSL Staff Contact

Kristy Hartman

March 2011 
By Jacquelyn Pless


Ensuring pipeline reliability and safety is critical as more natural gas is transported across the country. Although it may be difficult to compare safety across states since rules for resource transportation, pipeline construction, testing and inspection differ, pipeline incidents reported are comparable. Variation in the number of accidents, despite similar time spent on inspections, may reflect deficiencies in state regulations, oversight or reporting requirements. Data reveal that states with more natural gas transmission pipeline mileage per square mile of land experience more significant accidents, and, generally, states that spend more time per mile of pipeline on inspections experience fewer incidents. As the nation’s pipeline network continues to expand, states may need to develop more stringent pipeline safety and inspection regulations.

Additional resources:

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s pipeline safety regulations:

To learn more about the role of the Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) within the U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), and to gather state pipeline and incident data, see

To learn more about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) specific duties, visit