Critical Infrastructure Protection: Key Pipeline Security Documents Need to Reflect Current Operating Environment

More than 2.7 million miles of pipeline transport natural gas, oil, and other hazardous liquids needed to operate vehicles and heat homes, among other things, in the United States. Responsibility for safeguarding these pipelines is shared by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), within the Department of Transportation (DOT); and pipeline operators. TSA oversees the security of all transportation modes, including pipelines. PHMSA oversees pipeline safety. DHS and DOT signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on their roles across all transportation modes in 2004. In 2006, TSA and PHMSA signed an annex to the MOU (MOU Annex) to further delineate their pipeline security-related responsibilities. The TSA Modernization Act includes a provision for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review DHS and DOT roles and responsibilities for pipeline security. This report addresses, among other things: (1) the extent the MOU Annex delineates TSA’s and PHMSA’s pipeline security roles and responsibilities; and (2) the extent TSA has communicated federal incident response procedures for pipeline breaches to stakeholders. GAO reviewed the MOU annex and related documents and TSA’s Pipeline Security and Incident Recovery Protocol Plan, and interviewed officials from PHMSA, TSA, and four pipeline associations. GAO is making five recommendations, including that: (1) TSA and PHMSA develop and implement a timeline for reviewing and, as appropriate, updating the 2006 MOU Annex; and (2) TSA periodically review, and as appropriate, update its 2010 pipeline incident recovery plan. DHS and DOT concurred with these recommendations.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Maps; References;
  • Pagination: 50p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01710501
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO-19-426
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 5 2019 1:58PM