Gas Pipeline Safety Under Heightened State and Federal Scrutiny

Navigating the New Regulatory Landscape and Preparing for Increased Testing and Penalties

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Thursday, March 15, 2012

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will provide energy law practitioners with an overview of recent changes in state and federal safety regulations affecting natural gas pipelines. The panel will examine developments following two recent deadly pipeline explosions in California and review the newly passed Pipeline Safety Act.


Federal and California regulators are changing safety requirements for gas pipeline owners and operators following a 2010 pipeline explosion that killed eight people in San Bruno and a deadly pipeline accident in Rancho Cordova just two years before.

California just imposed $38 million in fines against PG&E for the Rancho Cordova incident; penalties are expected to be even higher for the San Bruno explosion. Federal and state regulators have ordered PG&E to implement expensive hydrostatic pressure tests. Additional restrictions are also expected.

Additional federal regulations have arrived with the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty and Job Creation Act, signed into law at the start of 2012. The Act expands Department of Transportation authority over pipeline safety and allows stiff penalties for violations.

Listen as our authoritative panel of energy law practitioners examines state and federal regulatory developments following the recent California pipeline explosions. The panel will analyze new federal restrictions under the Pipeline Safety Act and provide an overview of areas that counsel in pipeline-related matters need to closely monitor.



  1. Overview of Structure of State and Federal Overview of Gas Pipeline Safety
  2. State & Federal Regulatory Response to San Bruno/Rancho Cordova Gas Explosions.
    1. Review of San Bruno/Rancho Cordova accidents
    2. CPUC response: resulting penalties and new restrictions
      1. Rancho Cordova penalty
      2. Hydrostatic pressure tests
    3. NTSB Response
    4. Expected responses from other states.
  3. Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 (“Pipeline Safety Act”)
    1. Brief legislative history of Pipeline Safety Act
    2. Pipeline Safety Act expansion of DOT Pipeline Safety authority
    3. Key provisions of Pipeline Safety Act
  4. Expected future developments


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What state and federal regulatory penalties and restrictions do pipeline operators face in the aftermath of California's San Bruno and Rancho Cordova pipeline explosions?
  • How does the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty and Job Creation Act expand federal pipeline safety regulation, as well as the potential for heavy fines for rules violators?
  • What areas must be monitored for developments in the near-future by counsel involved in pipeline-related practice?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Darren J. Hunter
Darren J. Hunter

Dewey & LeBoeuf

He has more than two decades of experience defending clients during government investigations and against government...  |  Read More

Ahren S. Tryon
Ahren S. Tryon

Dewey & LeBoeuf

He has worked as a presiding official for the US Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials...  |  Read More

Vidhya Prabhakaran
Vidhya Prabhakaran

Davis Wright Tremaine

He focuses on energy industry matters and has managed client interests in climate change, renewable energy, ratemaking,...  |  Read More

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