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Comment Period Opens for Proposed Rule Expanding Regulation of Gathering, Transmission Natural Gas Lines

On April 8, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) formally published its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking expanding regulation of natural gas transmission and gathering lines, including previously unregulated lines. Publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register has triggered a 60-day comment period. Persons interested in submitting written comments on the proposed rule must do so by June 7, 2016.

The proposed rule would substantially increase the scope and strength of PHMSA’s regulation of natural gas pipelines, including: (1) regulating pipelines constructed before 1970, (2) enhancing integrity management requirements, and (3) classifying lines as gathering lines earlier in the production process, thereby reducing the instances when lines will be considered incidental gathering, instead of transmission. For more details on the proposed rule and its implications for pipeline owners and operators, please see our prior pipeline alert.

PHMSA has specifically requested comments from industry participants on the rule’s potential cost impact and whether its proposed regulations strike the most efficient balance between safety and feasibility. Now that the comment period has begun, interested parties should consider beginning their analysis of the proposed rule.

© 2020 BARNES & THORNBURG LLPNational Law Review, Volume VI, Number 104


About this Author

Elizabeth Davis, Barnes Thornburg, Environmental lawyer, product liability law,

Elizabeth B. Davis is a partner in the Atlanta office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP and is a member of the firm’s Environmental Department. Ms. Davis focuses her practice on environmental and product liability matters.

Ms. Davis provides a broad spectrum of support to her business clients. As a former assistant regional counsel with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4, Ms. Davis has experience with regulatory compliance, permitting, enforcement defense and litigation. She counsels clients and litigates in virtually all aspects of...

Paul Drucker Environmental Attorney

Clients call on Paul Drucker to handle high-profile litigation and appeals, complex internal investigations concerning environmental incidents, environmental due diligence for corporate and real estate transactions, and regulatory compliance matters and settlements.

Paul is adept at helping clients develop comprehensive legal strategies that take into account their business operations, their commercial interests and their desire to be in compliance with applicable statutes and regulations. Paul’s ability to analyze and streamline complex problems and develop understandable and practical solutions is highly valued by the firms’ clients.

As a member of the firm’s nationally recognized Environmental Law department and its Water Law, Litigation and Appellate teams, Paul represents corporate clients in complex commercial and environmental litigation and arbitration. Paul’s substantial experience in motion practice includes dispositive motion writing and oral argument in state and federal courts throughout the country. He has resolved a wide array of contract, product liability, fraud, toxic tort and related matters, as well as cases involving CERCLA, RCRA, CWA, CAA and other federal and state statutes. Paul also works with municipal wastewater treatment plants in various jurisdictions on complicated compliance and litigation issues.

He regularly drafts federal appellate briefs involving complex environmental issues and was the principal author of a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court concerning Clean Water Act issues that received national media attention.

As the founder and leader of the firm’s Pipeline practice team, Paul advises major oil companies and pipeline operators regarding pipeline siting and installation, integrity management issues, pipeline safety regulations, leak response, crisis management, environmental remediation and investigations into pipeline and refinery incidents. He interacts with PHMSA, USCG, EPA and other state and federal regulatory authorities regarding response activities, legal claims, and environmental impacts arising from pipeline and refinery releases.

In addition, Paul counsels major corporations on environmental, health and safety issues in regional, national and international business transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, stock purchase agreements, divestitures and real estate transactions. He frequently manages environmental due diligence, oversees environmental investigations and negotiates environmental provisions in transaction documents. Paul has been involved in a number of high-profile multimillion and multibillion dollar transactions and M&A deals.

Prior to joining Barnes & Thornburg, Paul practiced environmental law and complex commercial litigation at Mayer Brown LLP in Chicago.

Michael Elam Environmental Energy Attorney

Veteran attorney Michael Elam brings more than three decades of experience in environmental, energy, infrastructure and natural resource law in both the private and public sectors. He structures creative agreements and helps secure approvals and financing for complex national and international agreements involving the development, remediation and financing of environmentally challenged or controversial projects surrounding energy and sensitive water bodies or sources.

Michael represents businesses and other clients in complex projects and transactions, disputes and litigation. He is...


Jill M. Fortney is an associate in the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP and a member of the Litigation and Environmental Departments.

Ms. Fortney was previously a summer associate at Barnes & Thornburg, where she worked in the areas of litigation, intellectual property, and finance, insolvency and restructuring. In addition, Ms. Fortney was a law clerk for the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Georgia.

Upon graduating from Emory University with a B.A. and M.A. in history, cum laude,...

Paul N. Garinger litigation lawyer Barnes Thornburg
Of Counsel

Paul N. Garinger is of counsel in Barnes & Thornburg's Columbus office and a member of the firm's Litigation Department and Pipeline Practice Team. He concentrates his practice on complex commercial litigation before state and federal trial and appellate courts.

Paul has focused his practice in the area of oil and gas law and pipeline related issues. Paul's commercial litigation clients have included a multinational energy company in a large-scale federally regulated pipeline project across the state of Ohio, oil and gas exploration and production companies,...