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Pipeline Safety Update - Issue No. 144

PHMSA Postpones Technical Advisory Committee Meetings

Because of a lapse in funding, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced a postponement of the meetings of the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC) and Liquid Pipeline Advisory Committee (LPAC) that had been scheduled for January 8-10.  When the meetings are convened, the GPAC will consider the gathering line component of the notice of proposed rulemaking PHMSA issued in April 2016 to significantly revise PHMSA’s Part 192 regulations applicable to gas transmission and gathering pipelines.  The American Petroleum Institute and GPA Midstream Association have submitted a position paper and comments regarding PHMSA’s proposal.  The Pipeline Safety Trust has submitted a response.  Those documents can be found here.  Meeting presentation materials are here

In addition, the GPAC and LPAC will meet to discuss relevant policy issues and topics, including public awareness, updates on regulatory initiatives, the voluntary information sharing system working group, and research and development projects.

PHMSA Rulemakings Update.  The tables below summarize the status of the PHMSA’s pending pipeline safety rulemaking initiatives as reflected in the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) November Significant Rulemaking Report and the Office of Management & Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Fall 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.  In addition, PHMSA recently updated its Chart of PHMSA Regulations that are required by the 2016 Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act. 

Note that many of the estimated publication dates have passed.

Pending Final Rules

Proceeding

DOT Estimated Publication

OIRA Estimated Publication

PHMSA's 2016 PIPES Act Chart

Enhanced Emergency Order Procedures 

 December 7, 2018

October 2018

December 24, 2018

Plastic Pipe Rule

Issued November 20, 2018

Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines, MAOP Reconfirmation, Expansion of Assessment Requirements and Other Related Amendments 

April 4, 2019

March 2019

March 14, 2019

Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines, Repair Criteria, Integrity Management Improvements, Cathodic Protection, Management of Change, and Other Related Amendments 

December 20, 2019

December 2019

Not Listed

Safety of Gas Gathering Pipelines 

December 20, 2019

December 2019

Not Listed

Safety of Onshore Hazardous Liquid Pipelines

March 15, 2019

December 2018

January 7, 2019

Underground Natural Gas Storage Facilities 

January 21, 2019

December 2018

January 21, 2019

Pending Notices of Proposed Rulemakings

Proceeding

DOT Estimated Publication

OIRA Estimated Publication 

PHMSA's 2016 PIPES Act Chart

Class Location Requirements

Not Provided

September 2019 

Not Listed 

Gas Pipeline Regulatory Reform

May 10, 2019

May 2019

Not Listed

Liquid Pipeline Regulatory Reform 

Not Listed

February 2019

Not Listed

Periodic Standards Update 

Not Listed 

April 2020

Not Listed

Repair Criteria for Hazardous Liquid Pipelines 

Not Listed 

Next Action Undetermined 

 Not Listed

Valve Installation and Minimum Rupture Detection Standards

March 29, 2019

January 2019

January 14, 2019

Pending Advanced Notices of Proposed Rulemakings

Proceeding

DOT Estimated Publication 

OIRA Estimated Publication 

Coastal Ecological Unusually Sensitive Areas

Not Listed

April 2020

OTHER PHMSA UPDATES

PHMSA requests comments on proposed revisions to Operator Assignment (OPID) Request and National Registry Notification forms and instructions.  On December 18, 2018, PHMSA issued a notice requesting comments on an information collection that will be sent to OMB requesting changes to the existing OPID Assignment Request (PHMSA F 1000.1) and National Registry Notification (PHMSA F 1000.2) forms and instructions.  PHMSA previously issued a notice requesting comments on the information collection on August 9, 2018.  PHMSA received one comment noting that the reporting instructions could be more detailed.  Comments to OMB are due January 17, 2019.

UPDATES FROM OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES

BSEE requests information on decommissioning in place certain offshore pipeline facilities.  On December 28, 2018, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) issued a notice requesting information from the public regarding issues related to the decommissioning-in-place of pipeline valves and fittings and other pipeline-related infrastructure in deepwater (i.e., depths of at least 600 feet) on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).  The comments will help BSEE to develop a consistent and reasonable approach to considering requests to allow the decommissioning-in-place of these types of pipeline facilities.  Comments are due February 26.

UPDATES FROM INDUSTRY

The CEPA Foundation and INGAA Foundation release “The Practical Guide for Facility Inspectors.”  The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) Foundation and the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) Foundation released “The Practical Guide for Facility Inspectors,” designed to provide guidance to personnel who inspect a company’s construction of facilities.

© 2020 Van Ness Feldman LLPNational Law Review, Volume IX, Number 7

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
Marco Bracamonte, Van Ness Feldman Law Firm, Washington DC, Paralegal
Paralegal

With over 15 years of experience, Marco Bracamonte supports the firm’s attorneys and clients with natural gas regulatory and transactional matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He also assists with special litigation contract issues.  In addition to researching and reporting on various proceedings before the Commission, Marco is experienced in retrieving criminal records and making filings at the D.C. Superior Court.

Marco has completed courses of cite checking and legal research conducted by the National Capital Area...

202-298-1924