is said that the pipelines in the United States could encircle the Earth 25
times. The American Public Works Association estimates that an underground
utility line is hit somewhere in the United States every 60 seconds.
a recent hearing on pipeline safety, Commerce Committee Chairman Senator Jay
Rockefeller (D-WV) said:
"They crisscross underneath our cities
and country sides, yet most of the time we are not even aware they are there.
They deliver critical fuel that powers our homes, factories, and offices, and
also transport the oil and gas that keep our cars, trucks, and planes
operating…Compared to other forms of transportation, pipelines are a relatively
safe, clean and efficient way of transporting the goods they carry.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case…Lack of records about older
pipelines is a real problem and contributed to a catastrophic pipeline
explosion in California that killed several people.”
officials, transportation designers, telecom, and utilities and pipeline
operators, as well as local government, need accurate location information to
manage existing underground infrastructure and plan for future growth and
development. Surveys and maps of underground utilities are often inaccurate. In
many cases, they don’t even exist. The National Transportation Safety Board
(NTSB) and other authorities often cite the lack of location data as a factor
in pipeline accidents. The
inaccuracy of location data, unmarked utilities, and crowding within rights of
way are major factors contributing to disruption to underground infrastructure.
Digging, drilling or excavating in the vicinity of unknown, unmarked, unmapped,
or incorrectly located utilities can be costly in terms of wasted excavation
time, service disruption and utility downtime, environmental damage, and -
worst of all - personal injury or loss of life.
recently as January 2013, the Government Accountability Office released a study
(GAO-13-168) on pipeline safety urging "better data” with an emphasis on "location”,
should investigate the problem of underground infrastructure location and enhance
public safety, environmental protection and the economy by strengthening
Federal law on accurate location (surveying and mapping) of such pipelines and
other forms of underground utility infrastructure.
MAPPS, the national association of
private sector mapping, geospatial, and geographic information systems (GIS)
firms, respectfully urges Members
of Congress to sponsor a legislative provision requiring accurate mapping of
Pipelines and other forms of underground infrastructure, "in accordance
with standards and protocols for the collection of geospatial data developed
under section 216 of the E-Government Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-347; 44
U.S.C. 3501 note)." For more information, contact John Byrd, MAPPS
Government Affairs Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 787-6996.