This paper examines regulations for oil pipeline repair and considers some best practices to streamline permitting and assure compliance in the U.S. In the U.S., the federal government does not regulate construction or abandonment for oil pipelines, as it does with natural gas pipelines through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (the FERC). Instead, a number of federal, state, and local authorities have jurisdiction over oil pipelines and may regulate these activities differently. Because oil pipelines cross many jurisdictional boundaries, applicants find it challenging to navigate permitting requirements. For example, determining which permits are required for pipeline repair in U.S. waters can be difficult because, while such waters are defined by federal statute, the application of those rules is not uniform in all jurisdictions. In this paper, we present best practices for assuring compliance and streamlining the permitting process for oil pipeline construction, routine maintenance and repair in the U.S. To the extent possible, best practices mimic the FERC process, promote dialogue between regulators and oil pipeline companies, and foster a more transparent and effective environmental regulatory process. This paper presents the challenges encountered by the oil pipeline industry as a result of multiple agencies regulating the repair of oil pipelines. The paper then presents some discussion of the regulatory process and approaches to addressing challenges associated with this process. Following best practices to meet regulatory requirements is not only efficient and cost effective, but also helps assure long term regulatory compliance which affects the success of both small and larger scale projects.

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