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Will Additional Federal Enforcement Improve the Performance of Pipelines in the U.S.?

Listed author(s):
  • Sarah L. Stafford


    (Department of Economics, College of William and Mary)

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    This paper provides the first empirical analysis of the effectiveness of regulatory enforcement in increasing the environmental and safety performance of U.S. natural gas and hazardous liquid pipeline operators. The analysis combines data on federal regulatory inspections, enforcement actions, and penalties with data on injuries, fatalities, property damage, and barrels of product lost through pipeline "incidents" for 2006-2011 for the 344 largest pipeline operators in the U.S. The results of the analysis do not provide compelling evidence that either federal inspections or civil penalties are particularly effective in increasing performance; however, the number of federal cases initiated against an operator does have a significant effect on many forms of performance, although not for incidents in general. The results also suggest that some targeting of federal enforcement resources is based on past performance, but there may be room for even more effective targeting. Finally, the analysis reveals interesting patterns between state and federal enforcement efforts.

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    Paper provided by Department of Economics, College of William and Mary in its series Working Papers with number 144.

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    Length: 37 pages
    Date of creation: 21 Aug 2013
    Handle: RePEc:cwm:wpaper:144
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