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Pipeline Safety Update Issue No. 151 – July 19, 2019

Updated PHMSA Rulemakings Chart. The chart below shows the status of PHMSA’s pending pipeline safety rulemakings as reflected in (1) DOT’s June Significant Rulemaking Report, (2) PHMSA’s status Chart of legislatively mandated actions, and (3) the Office of Management & Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Spring 2019 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. The Unified Agenda appears in two principal parts, Current Agenda Agency Regulatory Entries for Active Actions and Current Long Term Actions.

PHMSA recently announced that the Gas Transmission Final Rule (Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines MAOP Reconfirmation, Expansion of Assessment Requirements and Other Related Amendments) and Valve Installation and Minimum Rupture Detection Standards notice of proposed rulemaking have been transmitted to OMB. 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.

Pending Final Rules

Proceeding

DOT Estimated Publication

OIRA Estimated Publication

PHMSA’s Chart

Emergency Order Procedures

August 1, 2019

May 2019

July 26, 2019

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

August 30, 2019

July 2019

August 30, 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

June 26, 2020

December 2019

Not Listed

Safety of Onshore Hazardous Liquid Pipelines

June 28, 2019

December 2018

July 29, 2019

Underground Natural Gas Storage Facilities

September 30, 2019

July 2019

October 22, 2019

Pending Notices of Proposed Rulemakings

Proceeding

DOT Estimated Publication

OIRA Estimated Publication

PHMSA’s Chart

Amendments to LNG Facilities

September 2, 2019

October 2019

September 2, 2019

Class Location Requirements

November 15, 2019

November 2019

Not Listed

Gas Pipeline Regulatory Reform

September 30, 2019

August 2019

Not Listed

LNG by Rail

July 29, 2019

Not Listed

Not Listed

Liquid Pipeline Regulatory Reform

Not Listed

June 2019

Not Listed

Periodic Standards Update

Not Listed

April 2020

Not Listed

Repair Criteria for Hazardous Liquid Pipelines

June 26, 2020

Next Action Undetermined

Not Listed

Valve Installation and Minimum Rupture Detection Standards

September 27, 2019

August 2019

September 27, 2019

Pending Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemakings

Proceeding

DOT Estimated Publication

OIRA Estimated Publication

PHMSA’s Chart

Coastal Ecological Unusually Sensitive Areas

Not Listed

April 2020

April 13, 2020

Other PHMSA Updates

PHMSA has posted the voting slides from the June 25-26 GPAC Meeting. PHMSA has posted the voting slides from the January 25-26 meeting of the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC) addressing PHMSA’s notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the federal safety regulations applicable to gas gathering pipelines. The voting slides contain the language approved by GPAC.

Updates from Capitol Hill

House members request GAO to examine BSEE’s safety oversight of offshore oil and gas pipelines. On July 9, Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Alan S. Lowenthal (D-CA), and Joe Cunningham (D-SC) submitted a letter to the U.S. Comptroller General requesting that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examine the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s (BSEE) oversight of offshore oil and gas pipelines and facilities. The congressmen are concerned about BSEE’s ability to ensure the integrity of older oil and gas pipelines in federal offshore waters and the risk of leaks caused by hurricanes, corrosion, accidental damage and other factors. Representatives Grijalva and Lowenthal are the Chairs of the House Natural Resources Committee and House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, respectively.

Updates from other Federal Agencies

DOE seeks information on methods to strengthen resilience of oil and gas infrastructure against cyber and physical threats and severe weather. On July 9, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a notice of request for information (RFI) encouraging stakeholders in the pipeline industry to submit information on current consensus-based codes, specifications, standards, and informal guidance that improve the resilience of oil and natural gas infrastructure with respect to both system design and operation. DOE is interested in technical design standards and requirements for system components, corporate business practices, and analytic methods and tools for estimating economic benefits from strategies, investments or initiatives. DOE plans to catalogue and synthesize existing expert knowledge and make it available to interested policy officials and decision-makers. Comments are due August 23.

TSA seeks comment on extending collection of information regarding pipeline security practices. On July 3, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued a notice that it intends to request OMB to approve renewal of an existing information collection regarding pipeline security practices through TSA’s Pipeline Corporate Security Review (PCSR) program. Under this program, TSA collects data and assesses the physical and cyber security practices of pipelines. Comments are due to TSA by September 3.

Updates from Select States

Alabama: Act 2019-407 (S.B. 315), which becomes effective January 1, 2020, contains numerous changes to the state’s One-Call Notification System. Among other things, the act creates a new Underground Damage Prevention Authority; establishes a procedure for enforcing notification requirements and penalty provisions; revises civil penalties for violations; and amends substantive requirements.

Texas: The Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) has released informal working drafts of possible amendments to its pipeline safety regulations (Chapter 8) pertaining to unregulated intrastate gas gathering and hazard liquid gathering pipelines. The working draft describes a number of possible regulatory changes, including requiring that operators of unregulated onshore natural gas gathering pipelines located in Class 1 areas and unregulated rural hazardous liquid pipelines comply with regulations pertaining to corrosion control for steel pipelines, damage prevention, public education programs, maximum allowable operating pressure (gas pipelines), maximum operating pressure (hazardous liquid pipelines), line markers and leakage surveys for gas gathering and right-of-way inspections for liquid pipelines.

In addition, Class 1 onshore natural gas gathering lines greater than 12.75 inches in diameter with MAOPs that produce a hoop stress of 20 percent or more of specified minimum yield strength (SMYS) would be required to comply with Part 192 of the federal pipeline safety regulations, except for integrity management and requirements for inline inspection. The working draft also would require such  pipelines to comply with requirements pertaining to incident and accident reporting, inspections, and enforcement. Among other things, the working draft reflects revised definitions of incidents and accidents and a shortened time for reporting an incident or leak from 2 hours to 1 hour after discovery. The working draft also includes record-keeping requirements for plastic pipelines.

The RRC is convening a public workshop in Austin on July 24 and is requesting comments no later than July 31.

HB 864: On June 14, the Governor Abbott signed H.B. 864 directing the RRC to require that distribution pipeline operators provide notification of an incident within 1 hour after the operator discovers it and describing the information to be provided. This legislation becomes effective September 1.

HB 866: On June 2, Governor Abbott signed H.B. 886 which prohibits operators of gas distribution pipelines from installing underground cast iron, wrought iron or bare steel pipelines and requires the RRC to implement a risk-based program for removing or replacing underground distribution gas pipelines, annually removing or replacing at least 8 percent of underground distribution gas pipelines posing the greatest risk, and removing underground cast iron pipelines by December 31, 2021.

© 2019 Van Ness Feldman LLP

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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