Danger: Feds warn of winter pipeline hazards

Gas pipeline operators should take precautions this winter to prevent damage caused by the cold weather, federal regulators say.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) warned petroleum companies Wednesday that snow and ice can damage their gas pipelines.

"The accumulation of snow and ice increases the potential for damage,” the agency wrote Wednesday in a safety advisory bulletin posted in the Federal Register.

The PHMSA urged gas pipeline operators to prevent snow and ice build-up to avoid safety issues.

Gas pipeline operators have attracted growing scrutiny following recent high-profile gas leaks. As regulators shift their focus toward pipeline safety issues, the PHMSA is concerned about potential winter damage.

The PHMSA pointed to gas pipeline incidents that have occurred in past winters due to the “stress of snow and ice.” Pipeline operators should monitor the snow build-up and warn their communities of potential dangers, the agency said.