Simplistic overview site, properly titled Pipeline101.com
Note: most pipelines are buried. the right-of-way or( ROW):
- enables workers to gain access for inspection, maintenance, testing or emergencies
- maintains an unobstructed view for frequent aerial surveillance
- identifies an area that restricts certain activities to protect the landowner, the community through which the pipeline passes and the pipeline itself.
Definition of Right of Way from office of pipeline safety:
What is a pipeline right-of-way?
A pipeline right-of-way is a strip of land over and around pipelines where some of the property owner's legal rights have been granted to a pipeline company. A right-of-way agreement between the pipeline company and the property owner is also called an easement and is usually filed in the public records with property deeds. Rights-of-ways and easements provide a permanent, limited interest in the land that enables the pipeline company to operate, test, inspect, repair, maintain, replace, and protect one or more pipelines on property owned by others. The agreement may vary the rights and widths of the right-of-way, but generally, the pipeline company's right-of-ways extend 25 feet from each side of a pipeline unless special conditions exist.
Bureau of Land Management Policies on ROW
Each year hundreds of individuals and companies apply to the BLM for rights-of-way (ROW) on or across public lands. A ROW grant is an authorization to use a specific piece of public land for specific facilities for a specific period of time. Currently the vast majority of the ROWs granted are authorized by Title V of FLPMA (43 U.S.C. 1761-1771) and the Mineral Leasing Act (Section 28 of the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended , 43 U.S.C. 185). It is the policy of the BLM to authorize all ROW applications at the discretion of the authorized officer in the most efficient and economical manner possible.
FLPMA Rights-of-Way: As authorized by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), BLM will issue ROW grants for electrical power generation, transmission and distribution systems, systems for the transmission and reception of electronic signals and other means of communications, highways, railroads, pipelines (other than oil and gas pipelines) and other facilities or systems which are in the public interest.
Mineral Leasing Act Rights-of-Way: As authorized by the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA), BLM will issue ROW grants for oil and natural gas gathering, and distribution pipelines and related facilities (not authorized by appropriate leases) and oil and natural gas transmission pipeline and related facilities.
Q: How is the pipeline route, compressor station or storage field location selected? A: The pipeline company proposes the route or location, which is then examined by the Commission. The applicant must study alternative routes or locations to avoid or minimize damage to the environment, and the Commission, intervenors, or any commenter, may suggest alternatives and modifications. The effects on buildings, fences, crops, water supplies, soil, vegetation, wildlife, air quality, noise, safety, landowner interests, and more, are taken into consideration. The Commission also considers whether the pipeline can be placed near or within an existing pipeline, power line, highway or railroad right-of-way. Storage fields are usually located in depleted oil or natural gas production fields or in salt deposits. Therefore, their location is fixed by geologic conditions. However, the facilities needed to develop and use a storage field can be moved to some extent.
Q: How do pipelines obtain a right-of-way?
A: In the first instance, they negotiate with landowners who are compensated for signing an easement document. Landowners may be paid for loss of certain uses of the land during and after construction, loss of any other resources, and any damage to property. If the Commission approves the project and no agreement with the landowner is reached, the pipeline may acquire the easement under eminent domain (a right given to the pipeline company by statute to take private land for Commission-authorized use) with a court determining compensation under state law.
Q: How large is the right-of-way and how is it maintained?
A: It is generally 75 to 100 feet wide during construction, although extra space is usually required at road or stream crossings or because of soil conditions.
The permanent right-of-way is usually about 50 feet wide. Routine vegetation maintenance is done no more than once every three years. A ten-foot-wide corridor, centered on the pipeline, may be maintained annually.
FERC regulates pipeline, storage, and liquefied natural gas facility construction.
If you want to run your pipeline though federal land, you need an Environmental Impact Statement, evidence
You can run a pipeline through some types of national parks, evidence. again, requires and EIS and public hearings.
Congress can also grant ROWs for pipelines in National Parks, evidence. And here's the National Park Service Congressional testimony after the law was passed in 2001. What's interesting here is that a single Park is not homogeneous in its regulation. In this case, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park allows natural gas pipelines in some areas, but does not along its "scenic corridor".
EPRI runs a consulting service to facilitate the right of way process.
EPRI says that a growing concern today is about habitat fragmentation. Running a pipeline can breakup a natural habitat, adversely affecting the ecosystem. They also talk about using ROWs to create a protected area for endangered species, a new twist.
Here's a symposium on Envionmental Concerns of Right-of-Way management. Include GIS info.
This document from the Wyoming Bureau of Land Management says that CO2 pipelines are subject to the National Environmental Policy Act, and therefore must conduct and EIS. Here's the decision approving the pipeline, its for EOR in Wyoming.
Existing ROWs aren't easy to map, because of the war on terror. critical infrastructure data is being held more closely. But, here's where you can apply to get this info: The National Pipeline Mapping System
USA overview and the most recent workshop
The pipeline safety statute directed the Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) to describe areas that are unusually sensitive to environmental damage in the event of a hazardous liquid pipeline release, and to establish a method for identifying hazardous liquid pipelines located in those areas. The goal is to provide added protection to these particularly sensitive areas.
Once USAs are identified and located, pipeline operators will conduct risk assessments to determine if a release from a particular pipeline segment can impact an USA. The risk assessments will include consultations, when necessary, with Federal and state agencies responsible for protecting threatened and endangered species, depleted marine mammals, or critical drinking water resources. Segments of pipeline where a release could impact an USA will be subject to additional prevention, mitigation, and response measures. OPS recently published a proposed rule on Enhanced Protection in High Consequence Areas that identifies how pipeline operators are to address and best protect USAs, as well as other high consequence areas.
In 1996 Congress ordered the Department of Transportation to determine Unusually Sensitive Areas (USA) where liquid waste from a pipeline could cause serious damage to a sensitive ecosystem. They are mandated with determining which areas should go on the USA list, which would require addional protection. The rules provide a one-mile protection buffer around critical species locations.