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City Receives Second Pipeline Safety Grant

City Receives Second Pipeline Safety Grant

The US Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has awarded a nearly $44,000 grant to the City of Allentown for technical assistance relating to pipeline safety issues.  The money comes from the Technical Assistance Grants program authorized under the Pipeline Inspection, Protection, Enforcement and Safety Act of 2006.  It comes on top of an initial $50,000 grant received earlier this year.

The funds will help continue the development of the National Mayors Coalition for Pipeline Safety and outreach to mayors by educating and promoting participation at local levels of League of Cities and Business Councils.  The project scope includes organizing and conducting the first National Meeting of Mayors on Pipeline Safety and to promote participation and the growth of the National Mayors Coalition, in conjunction with the Winter/Spring U.S. Conference of Mayors gathering in Washington, DC.

The mayors’ effort is co-chaired by Allentown Mayor and San Bruno, California Mayor Jim Ruane.  A February 2011 natural gas explosion in Allentown killed five people and destroyed eight homes.  A September 2010 pipeline explosion and fire in San Bruno killed eight people, destroyed 38 homes, and badly damaged 70 more.

Pawlowski said, “We began our effort this year and our goal is to form a union of cities and to thereby facilitate shared education, ideas, conceptualizations and technology.  We appreciate the department’s continued support of our efforts.” PHMSA is awarding over $937,000 (combined) in pipeline safety technical assistance grants to 21 recipients. 

PHMSA Technical Assistance Grants allow local communities and groups of individuals to obtain funding for technical assistance in the form of engineering or other scientific analysis of pipeline safety issues and help promote public participation in official proceedings.  Since 2009, PHMSA has awarded close to $4 million in grants to 93 recipients. The Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 authorized a total of $1,500,000 per year for the TAG program.  It also mandated that the amount of any grant may not exceed $100,000 for a single grant recipient.  Congress appropriated $1,000,000 to PHMSA for FY 2013 for the TAG program.  Due to sequestration, PHMSA has $948,000 available for obligation for FY 2013 TAGs and the single grant recipient amount was kept at a maximum of $50,000 to allow more grants to be awarded.


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