Bloomberg Law
Dec. 20, 2018, 9:27 PM

Pipeline Inspectors to Stay on Job if Government Shuts Down

Sylvia Carignan
Sylvia Carignan

Pipeline inspections and investigations will continue if the government shuts down, but new regulations for hazardous material transportation could be delayed, according to the Department of Transportation.

More than half of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s staff would be furloughed in a government shutdown, according to the Department of Transportation’s contingency plan, released to Bloomberg Government Dec. 20.

The shutdown could delay work on multiple regulations the agency is drafting, including enhancing the safety of hazardous liquid and gas pipelines, and requirements for underground storage facilities for natural gas.

Staff who would continue work are responsible for investigating pipeline incidents and accidents as well as hazardous material shippers.

President Donald Trump said Dec. 20 he wouldn’t sign a spending bill that didn’t include funding for a wall along the country’s border with Mexico, according to reporting by Bloomberg Government. The bill would temporarily fund the federal government through Feb. 8.

The pipeline safety agency employs about 560 people, about 280 of whom are necessary for the protection of life and safety. In the event of a shutdown, the agency would suspend its rulemaking efforts as well as strategic planning and research.

—With assistance from Shaun Courtney.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sylvia Carignan in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory Henderson at; Steven Gibb at; Andrew Childers at