NACE Corrosion And Punishment Forum

The Legal And Regulatory Implications Of Pipeline Integrity Programs
March 2012, Vol. 239 No. 3

NACE International—The Corrosion Society --holds its annual conference each spring, attracting 6,000 attendees and 350 exhibiting companies from around the worldwho represent every industry and technology for corrosion control. The five-day conference features an extensive technical program, meetings, lectures, forums, courses, networking activities, special events, and the largest corrosion exposition in the world.

In 2007, in response to several prominent corrosion-related pipeline failures and the recent ruling that the U.S. government is holding individual personnel—including non-management technical personnel—criminally responsible for such failures, NACE launched its “Corrosion and Punishment” forum at that year’s annual conference.

Chaired by longtime NACE member and 2012-2013 President Kevin Garrity of Mears Group, the forum has been revived by popular demand every year since its inception. Garrity and a representative panel of regulators and industry specialists provide forum attendees with the latest information on pipeline regulations, liability and enforcement issues, the importance of accurate recordkeeping, the latest in pipeline corrosion management programs, and more.

For CORROSION 2012, scheduled for March 11-15 in Salt Lake City, UT, Garrity has assembled an expert speaker panel that includes Linda Daugherty, deputy associate administrator for Policy and Programs, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA); Chris A. Paul, shareholder, Industry Group Leader, McAfee & Taft; and John R. Clayton, partner, Jackson Walker L.L.P.

In anticipation of this year’s “Corrosion and Punishment” session, NACE asked the panelists a series of questions to learn about the latest in pipeline safety regulations, the monetary and criminal consequences of noncompliance, and how the pipeline industry is doing overall.Garrity, Daugherty, and Paul provided the following comments.

Q: How would you describe the pipeline industry’s overall safety record?
Given the size of our pipeline infrastructure, the industry has an excellent safety record. Having said that, even one incident that places the public safety, property, and the environment at risk is one too many.

Daugherty: Overall, pipeline safety is continuing to improve. When looking at the long-term trends, incidents involving death or major injury have been going down since the mid-1980s (Figure 1). However, recent incidents such as those in San Bruno, CA; Allentown, PA; Marshall, MI; and other places across the country are a reminder that we still have much work to do.

Paul: By any measure, pipelines are the safest means for transportation of liquids and gas. Recent challenges such as the obstacles to Keystone XL construction are disturbing because politics and junk science combined with deliberate ignorance of facts are driving decisions that harm the economy and ultimately slow safety efforts.