WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) today appointed 24 members to the pipeline safety Voluntary Information-Sharing System (VIS) Working Group. The newly created advisory committee that will provide the Secretary of Transportation with advice and recommendations related to pipeline safety, including whether an information-sharing system for pipeline owners and operators is needed.
“This is an important step to enhancing safety and making it easier to share best practices,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The new VIS Working Group will not only utilize the expertise of the pipeline industry, but it will encourage collaboration in the way information is used and exchanged regarding pipeline assets and activities to impact safety.”
The final appointments for the VIS Working Group were made based on the requirements in the Nov. 8 Federal Register notice requesting nominations.
The members of the VIS Working Group are:
Alan Mayberry, Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
State Public Utility Commissioners/State Officials
Diane Burman, Commissioner, New York State Public Service Commission
Sherina Edwards, Commissioner, Illinois Commerce Commission
State Pipeline Safety Inspectors
Joe Subsits, Chief Pipeline Safety Engineer, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission
Michelle Thebert, Director, Facilities Protection Unit, Georgia Public Service Commission
Safety Advocacy Groups
Kate Blystone, Outreach Manager, Pipeline Safety Trust
Dr. Simona Perry, Research Director and Founder, Pipeline Safety Coalition
John MacNeill, National Safety Director, Utility Workers Union of America
Eric Sherman, Legislative Assistant, Native American Contractors Association
Walter Jones,Associate Director of Occupational Safety & Health, Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund of North America
Leif Jensen, Senior Director of Asset Integrity, Sunoco Logistics
Dan Cote, Vice President of Pipeline Safety & Compliance, NiSource Gas
Eric Amundsen, Vice President, Panhandle Energy/Energy Transfer Partners
Bryce Brown, Vice President, Group Strategy Management, The ROSEN Group
Jason Cradit, Senior Director of Technology, TRC Oil and Gas
Alicia Farag, President & CEO, LocusView Solutions
Mark Zuniga, Vice President of Information Technology, UniversalPegasus International, Inc.
Robert Buchanan, General Manager, Seal for Life Industries
Christopher Warner, Senior Vice President, Mears Group, Inc.
Mike LaMont, Vice President, Integrity Plus
Mark Hereth, Principal, Process Performance Improvement Consultants
Dr. Yiming Deng, Associate Professor, Michigan State University
Michael Keller, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Tulsa
Holly Pearen, Senior Attorney, Environmental Defense Fund
The VIS Working Group will discuss collaborative efforts to improve pipeline inspection information sharing. The group will develop recommendations on how to best establish a voluntary information-sharing system to exchange and protect pipeline safety and inspection-related data.
“Voluntary information sharing is a critical next step in achieving a greater safety threshold in the pipeline industry,” said PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez. “Today’s appointments by Secretary Foxx task a diverse and robust group of experts with providing critical recommendations in how we can use and share data to further improve pipeline safety.”
Specifically, the VIS Working Group will offer recommendations on the best ways to:
- Identify the need for a system to confidentially share pipeline dig verification data with in-line inspection operators
- Encourage the sharing of pipeline inspection information and the development of advanced pipeline inspection technologies
- Share data to increase knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of the varying types of in-line inspection technologies
- Create a secure system that protects proprietary information while also encouraging information sharing and the development of advanced pipeline inspection technologies
- Protect safety- and security-sensitive information, as well as proprietary information
- Determine associated regulatory, funding, and legal issues.
The VIS Working Group will convene its first meeting from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 19, at the Hilton Arlington, 950 N. Stafford St., Arlington, VA 22203. Meetings are open to the public.