Training the Public

The Pipeline Safety Trust (PST) received a grant from PHMSA in 2017 and again in 2018 to send 20-30 people from local and tribal government, and ​non-profit organizations to an in-depth training on pipeline safety. Pipeline safety is a complicated web and our goal with this training is to provide attendees with the information they need to better understand pipelines and pipeline regulations. With this information, you will be able to understand the daily operations and potential risks from pipelines better, and potentially develop programs and engage in regulatory processes that address these risks more effectively.

This training focuses on the safety of existing or soon to be existing pipelines, and will not get into other important related issues such as the regulatory system for the siting of new pipelines, the impacts of oil and gas production methods, or the impacts from the use of the fuels pipelines transport.

Over the course of this three-day training, attendees will learn how pipelines are constructed, operated, maintained, inspected and regulated, as well as a review of the different types of pipelines and the major failure causes and what is done to try to prevent those failures. We are really interested in funding people who will continue to be involved in pipeline safety issues in years to come. This training will be provided by a well respected consulting firm – RCP – at their headquarters in downtown Houston. An outline of the training is below. All travel costs for the attendees will be offered by the Pipeline Safety Trust.


Application for the 2019 training is now closed, but we hope to do it again in the future. If you have any questions or would like to be put on the notification list for future trainings send us an email at or give us a call at 360-543-5686.


The training will be based on the outline below:

  • Why have pipelines?
  • The different types of pipelines (production, gathering, transmission, distribution), with an emphasis on the difference between gas and liquid; and transmission and distribution
  • The historical safety record of pipelines
  • The regulatory scheme for pipelines (who regulates what, and when) at the federal and state level
  • PHMSA regulations – scope and major programs required; Inspections and Enforcement programs and trends
  • The major pieces and parts of a pipeline system: Storage, pipe, pumps, compressors, valves, meters, instrumentation / SCADA
  • The design, construction, and initial testing of pipelines
  • Operator Qualification
  • Pipeline corrosion control programs
  • Pipeline monitoring, operation, and control (local / control room / SCADA)
  • Pipeline ROW patrol programs and requirements
  • Public Awareness programs and coordination with government officials / others
  • In-line inspections (ILI): how do they work and what do they do?
  • The various types of leak detection systems and how they work
  • Emergency response planning requirements: 49 CFR 192 and 195; and OPA 90 in 49 CFR 194.

Here is who took the training in the spring of 2018

Trainee Name Organization and Title State
Barbara Arrindell Director, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability PA
Ben Cunningham Friends of Nelson, Vice President VA
Bob Shavelson Cook Inletkeeper, Advocacy Director AK
Chad Thompson Portland Water District, Source Protection Coordinator ME
Chuck Lesniak City of Austin, Watershed Protection Department, Environmental Officer TX
Ethan Buckner Earthworks, Energy Campaigner CA
Jason Valandra Bold Nebraska, Organizer NE
Jeff Insko Pipeline Safety Trust Board of Directors – Impacted Landowner MI
Jenny Mandel E&E News Reporter DC
Josh Joswick Earthworks Oil and Gas Accountability Project, Community organizer CO
Kate Blystone Pipeline Safety Trust, Outreach Manager WA
Kevin Ong Contra Costa County Health Services, Accidental Release Prevention Engineer CA
Kristin Carpenter Copper River Watershed Project, Executive Director AK
Marie L. Kaufusi Ute Indian Tribe Air Quality Program, Emission Specialist UT
Mary Flanderka Wyoming Outdoor Council, Policy Advocate WY
Michael Dossey Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials Programs, Accidental Release Prevention Engineer CA
Mike Soraghan E&E News Reporter DC
Natasha Leger Citizens for a Healthy Community, Interim Executive Director CO
Patty Cronheim ReThink Energy NJ, Outreach Coordinator NJ
Rita Beving Clean Water Action, Outreach Coordinator TX
Sara Gosman Pipeline Safety Trust, Vice President & Professor University of Arkansas School of Law AR
Shelley Robbins Upstate Forever – Energy and State Policy Director SC
Stephanie Scherr ECHO Action & NH Pipeline Resistance, Director NH
Travis Hallam Three Affiliated Tribes Pipeline Authority, Pipeline Safety Officer ND


And here is what some of the past people taking the training had to say about it:


“A big THANK YOU to all the PST staff and to Bill for putting this training together. I found it very valuable in terms of expanding my knowledge and in hearing other perspectives. It was very well run and couldn’t have been easier for me to participate. Thanks so much,”

Chuck Lesniak
City of Austin, Environmental Officer
Watershed Protection Department


“The basic concept of doing this training was marvelous – promoting a basic understanding of how things work so that people in public policy debates don’t simply talk past each other. That has happened so much in the “fracking” debate that I get worked up just thinking about it.

Bill, your instruction on this was patient and clear. I couldn’t imagine how to do it better.

And I really don’t even want to think about the logistics of this – wow. I don’t remember any hitches. So, hats off to Carl, Rebecca and Kate!

So I’ll stop gushing and say it was great to meet or re-connect with all of you!”

Mike Soraghan
E&E News reporter


“This was a stupendous opportunity and I echo everyone’s comments when I say how thankful I am for your care with everything from the attention to detail for our physical well being to the program itself. Bill was a patient, patient man with all of us, and the last day with industry and PHMSA was enlightening. I look forward to continuing the conversation with all of you!”

Patty Cronheim
Outreach Coordinator
ReThink Energy NJ


“What a great training! I had many questions answered and more raised. I can’t thank you enough, Carl, Kate and Bill!!! Thank you for arranging for a training we could get nowhere else. I know how hard Carl & the PST had to work to arrange the training and the relationships that have been cultivated over time. I’m so appreciative of Bill’s willingness to teach pipeline safety training to a non-industry group. He was incredibly patient and an excellent instructor with a great sense of humor.

The accommodations were comfortable, the food was very good and the company was first rate. I know how much planning goes into such an event, right down to the impeccable binder of slides. With each new training and increased knowledge, the ability to speak about pipelines becomes more comfortable. Giving correct information is always a priority. (I’d still like to have a field visit to learn more on site!!!)

I appreciate the concerns and personal stories that all of you relayed during the training and the different perspectives shared.”

Thank you all!!!

Stephanie Scherr, Director
ECHO Action, NH