Pipeline Information Center

Regulatory Agencies

Who regulates pipelines in my area?

PipelineThe Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, is an independent agency of the United States government that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil. FERC also reviews proposals to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and interstate natural gas pipelines.

Among its other powers FERC regulates the transmission and sale of natural gas for resale in interstate commerce; regulates the transportation of oil by pipeline in interstate commerce; and approves the siting and abandonment of interstate natural gas pipelines and storage facilities.

In addition the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) also oversees the safety of pipelines, which are a form of transportation infrastructure. The Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA), acting through the Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS), administers the Department's national regulatory program to assure the safe transportation of natural gas, petroleum, and other hazardous materials by pipeline. OPS develops and administers regulations to assure safety in design, construction, testing, operation, maintenance, and emergency response of pipeline facilities.

At the State level, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) is authorized by the General Assembly to adopt and enforce safety standards for pipeline facilities. The PUC also enforces federal safety standards as an agent for the OPS. These safety standards apply to the design, installation, operation, inspection, testing, construction, extension, replacement, and maintenance of pipeline facilities. The PUC may prescribe additional safety standards over and above federal standards, provided they are not in conflict. Pennsylvania, however, is one of two states that does not regulate the siting of intra-state transmission pipelines.

In addition to PUC oversight, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has regulatory authority over any crossing of a wetland or waterway by a pipeline. Pipeline projects located within Delaware River Basin may be subject to regulatory review by the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) when certain threshold established by the Administrative Manual — Rules of Practice and Procedure are met.

Municipal governments (cities, boroughs and townships) are authorized by the General Assembly to enact zoning and subdivision regulations which may regulate the siting and environmental impact of pipeline-related surface facilities. Municipalities also have the regulatory responsibility for minimizing conflicts between pipelines and new development on adjacent lands.

Where can I find information about agencies that regulate pipelines (federal, state, and county)?

WarningThere are many agencies that are involved in the process of a pipeline proposal. Below is a list of these agencies with brief descriptions, and what they do. There is also a "Links" page that will connect you with these agencies' websites.