New Law Increases Fuel Pipeline Security

Back in June four terrorists hatched a plot to blow up Kennedy Airport and swaths of Queens by attacking fuel tanks and an underground pipeline. They were targeting a massive jet-fuel pipeline that runs from Linden, N.J., through Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens and to the airport. They hoped an assault on the so-called Buckeye pipeline – which carries 8 million gallons of jet fuel and refined petroleum into the city every day – would kill thousands by causing explosions through residential sections of Queens.

Now the State has responded by passing new legislation that will enhance security procedures associated with pipelines and fueling networks. The legislation specifically addresses potential weaknesses in fueling networks servicing cities, airports, transmission systems and distribution points for petroleum, natural gas, and commercial aviation fuel. The bill complements earlier efforts by the State Office of Homeland Security (OHS) to review security at pipeline facilities. Under existing law, OHS has conducted site visits to natural gas and petroleum pipeline facilities throughout New York, and the petroleum industry has cooperated with OHS during such visits. The new bill will allow OHS to expand these efforts and provides for additional resources to broaden this critical mission.

Under the law, OHS will conduct physical inspections and evaluate security measures of the state’s essential transmission networks and submit a confidential preliminary report to the Governor, Legislature, the State Public Service Commission (PSC), regulators, and the facilities’ respective owners by April 30, 2008, and complete a full report by December 31, 2008. Subsequent reports will be submitted by December, 31, 2011, and repeated in five year intervals beginning in 2016. It also allows the PSC to implement the specific recommendations made by OHS.

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