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Pipeline Safety Update - Issue No. 140

PHMSA Rulemakings Update.  The tables below summarize the status of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) pending pipeline safety rulemaking initiatives as reflected in the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) June Significant Rulemaking Report and the Office of Management & Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Spring 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions.  The Unified Regulatory Agenda appears in two principal parts, Current Agenda Agency Regulatory Entries for Active Actions and Current Long Term Actions.  New information is highlighted in bold. 

Pending Final Rules

Proceeding

DOT Estimated Submission to OMB

DOT Estimated Publication

OIRA Estimated Publication 

Enhanced Emergency Order Procedures   Not Provided August 1, 2018 August 2018
Plastic Pipe Rule May 24, 2018 August 30, 2018 August 2018
Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines, MAOP Reconfirmation, Expansion of Assessment Requirements and Other Related Amendments  December 4, 2018 March 14, 2019 March 2019
Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines, Repair Criteria, Integrity Management Improvements, Cathodic Protection, Management of Change, and Other Related Amendments   March 4, 2019 June 12, 2019 June 2019
Safety of Gas Gathering Pipelines   May 2, 2019 August 14, 2019 August 2019
Safety of Hazardous Liquid Pipelines July 2, 2018 October 12, 2018 September 2018
Underground Natural Gas Storage Facilities   Not Provided September 26, 2018 September 2018

 

Pending Notices of Proposed Rulemakings 

Proceeding

DOT Estimated Submission to OMB

DOT Estimated Publication 

OIRA Estimated Publication 

Gas Pipeline Regulatory Reform Not Listed Not Listed February 2019
Liquid Pipeline Regulatory Reform  Not Listed Not Listed February 2019 
Periodic Standards Update  Not Listed  Not Listed   June 2019
Valve Installation and Minimum Rupture Detection Standards  Not Provided November 2, 2018 November 2018

 

Pending Advanced Notices of Proposed Rulemakings
 

Proceeding

DOT Estimated Submission to OMB

DOT Estimated Publication 

OIRA Estimated Publication 

ANPRM: Class Location Requirements   May 8, 2018 June 12, 2018 June 2018
Coastal Ecological Unusually Sensitive Areas  Not Listed Not Listed November 2018

 

 

Under Executive Order (EO) 12866, OMB reviews proposed significant rules to ensure they are consistent with applicable law, the President’s priorities, and the principles set forth in the EO, and to ensure the proposals do not conflict with another agency’s policies or actions. OMB also analyzes the cost-benefit analyses in support of the proposals. The EO sets out deadlines for OMB evaluation, but review periods are often extended.

OTHER PHMSA UPDATES

PHMSA will provide advance public notice of enforcement hearings.  On June 28, PHMSA Chief Counsel, Paul Roberti, stated in a letter to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press that PHMSA will implement a new practice of placing letters scheduling enforcement hearings in the proceeding’s publicly accessible docket.  Members of the press interested in observing a hearing must submit an advance request to attend. 

PHMSA requests comments on revised hazardous liquid annual report form.  On July 13, PHMSA issued a notice requesting comments on proposed revisions to the Annual Report form for Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Systems (PHMSA F 7000-1.1).  PHMSA proposes to add “carbon dioxide” to the name of the form and to revise Part J to remove the column for “Rural Low-Stress Pipeline Segments Subject ONLY to Subpart B of 49 C.F.R. § 195” because this type of pipeline does not exist.  The proposed forms are found on Regulations.gov.  Comments are due September 11. 

The Voluntary Information-Sharing System Working Group will meet on August 23.  On June 22, PHMSA announced that a public meeting of the Voluntary Information-Sharing System Working Group will be held on August 23 in Washington, DC.  Register for the meeting here

UPDATES FROM CAPITOL HILL

House Subcommittee convenes pipeline safety hearing.  On June 21, the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure convened a pipeline safety oversight hearing addressing the status of PHMSA’s implementation of various statutory directives.  Witnesses included PHMSA Administrator Skip Elliott and representatives from the pipeline industry, and the Pipeline Safety Trust.  Among other things, Administrator Elliott stated in prepared remarks that issuing the final rule addressing the safety of hazardous liquid pipelines is a high priority and that the agency is preparing a notice of proposed rulemaking to address shut-off valves and rupture detection.  Generally, with reauthorization of the federal pipeline safety program looming in 2019, Subcommittee members expressed concern about the delay in implementing regulatory programs required by the 2011 and 2016 reauthorizations.

UPDATES FROM OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES

The NTSB issues safety recommendation regarding installation of PermaLock mechanical tapping tee assemblies in gas distribution systems. On June 18, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a Safety Recommendation Report addressing the incorrect installation of PermaLock mechanical tapping tee assemblies in gas distribution systems.  Following residential gas explosions connected to incorrect installation, the NTSB recommends that PHMSA work with state pipeline regulators to modify inspection programs to address installation best practices, and recommends that Honeywell, the manufacturer of the PermaLock mechanical tapping tee, update installation instructions.

SELECT UPDATES FROM STATES

NEW YORK

On June 19, the New York Public Service Commission published a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend Part 255 of the state’s pipeline safety regulations applicable to gas transmission and distribution pipelines to adopt new federal regulations adopted in 2016 and to make clarifications and technical edits.  The amended provisions address excess flow valves, notification of conversions from non-jurisdictional to jurisdictional fuel, the qualification of gas pipeline welders, control room training, and the inspection of pressure-regulating devices.  Comments are due September 4.

© 2018 Van Ness Feldman LLP

TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS


About this Author

Susan A. Olenchuk, Van Ness Feldman Law Firm, Washington DC, Energy and Litigation Law Attorney
Partner

Susan Olenchuk represents clients on regulatory, safety, enforcement, and policy issues under the Pipeline Safety Laws, as well as under the Natural Gas Act (NGA), and the Natural Gas Policy Act (NGPA). She practices before the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and federal courts. 

Susan’s PHMSA practice covers compliance and strategic counseling, enforcement, litigation, audit preparation, and policy guidance.  She represents operators of gas and hazardous liquid...

202-298-1896
Bryn Karaus, Van Ness Feldman Law Firm, Pipeline Safety Attorney
Associate

As a member of the firm's pipeline safety practice, Bryn focuses on the regulation of pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities and the transportation of hazardous materials, and helps operators develop, implement, and defend their safety programs. Her practice covers compliance and strategic counseling, enforcement, litigation, audit preparation, and policy.

Prior to joining Van Ness Feldman, Bryn was a Senior Attorney in the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), where she handled matters related to the federal safety standards for oil and gas pipelines and LNG facilities. Bryn represented the agency in pipeline safety enforcement cases, collaborating with engineers to develop and enforce notices of probable violation, corrective action orders, and safety orders. She worked with PHMSA inspectors and with other federal and state agencies on accident and incident investigations. She also handled the legal review of PHMSA’s LNG portfolio during the projects’ FERC application process.

202-298-1821