Since the 1999 Olympic Pipeline disaster in Bellingham, many local governments in the State of Washington have become aware of and concerned about the major natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines that cross through our communities. Larger diameter pipelines that transport large volumes of natural gas or hazardous liquids under high pressure are classified as TRANSMISSION pipelines. These webpages provide information to Washington local governments on various issues related to transmission pipeline safety. Our companion Planning Near Pipelines pages address land use planning issues for property crossed by or near a transmission pipeline. Review the model franchises and sample franchises from other jurisdictions if you are drafting a new pipeline franchise, or renewing a pipeline franchise.
These pages do not deal with issues related to natural gas DISTRIBUTION pipelines. Distribution pipelines are the much smaller diameter pipelines that carry natural gas to homes and small businesses in many communities.
Additional information can be found on the pipeline safety webpages maintained by the Washington State Utility and Transportation Commission (UTC) and the Pipeline Safety Trust. Through certification by Office of Pipeline Safety, the Utilities and Transportation Commission, inspects, and enforces intrastate gas and liquid pipeline safety requirements. By signed agreement with OPS, the UTC also inspects interstate liquid and gas pipeline safety requirements. The Pipeline Safety Trust in Bellingham is an oversight organization created by Bellingham residents to ensure safer pipelines nationwide. It is funded by an endowment from the criminal fines imposed after the Bellingham pipeline disaster. The Trust promotes fuel transportation safety through education and advocacy, by increasing access to information, and by building partnerships with residents, safety advocates, government, and industry, that result in safer communities and a healthier environment.
If you have additional information or suggestions, please email Jim Doherty, MRSC Legal Consultant, or call (206) 625-1300.