Pipeline Safety Update - Issue No. 135

March 7, 2018

Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee Continues Discussion of Proposed Gas Rule

On March 2, the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC) convened a telephonic meeting to continue considering the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) proposed rule to amend the federal pipeline safety regulations applicable to gas transmission and gathering pipelines.  GPAC discussed and voted on provisions addressing strengthening assessment requirements; assessments outside of high consequence areas (HCA), i.e., proposed moderate consequence areas; and records.  The Committee discussed, but did not vote on, proposed revised repair criteria.  Presentation slides and additional information here.  The GPAC is scheduled to resume its consideration of the proposed rule on March 26-28 and June 12-14.  These meetings will address the proposed integrity verification process, remaining integrity management assessments, repair criteria, records relating to maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) and gathering pipelines.

PHMSA Rulemakings Update.  The tables below summarize the status of PHMSA’s pending pipeline safety rulemaking initiatives, as reflected in the Department of Transportation’s recently posted January Significant Rulemaking Report and the Fall Unified Regulatory Agenda, released by the Office of Management & Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).  The Unified Regulatory Agenda appears in two principal parts:  Current Agenda Agency Regulatory Entries for Active Actions and Current Long Term Actions

Pending Final Rules


Proceeding

DOT Estimated Submission to OMB

DOT Estimated Publication

OIRA Estimated Publication 

Enhanced Emergency Order Procedures   Not Listed   Not Listed  January 2018 
Plastic Pipe Rule
May 11, 2018
August 24, 2018 
August 2018
Safety of Gas Transmission and Gathering Pipelines
May 10, 2018 August 22, 2018 August 2018
Safety of Hazardous Liquid Pipelines
May 4, 2018 August 17, 2018 April 2018
Underground Natural Gas Storage Facilities   Not Listed Not Listed January 2018

 

Pending Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) & Advanced Notices of Proposed Rulemakings (ANPRM)

Proceeding

DOT Estimated Submission to OMB

DOT Estimated Publication 

OIRA Estimated Publication 

ANPRM: Class Location Requirements   April 3, 2018 April 27, 2018 April 2018
NPRM: Standards Update Rule - 2015 and Beyond
Not listed  Not listed  June 2018
NPRM: Valve Installation and Minimum Rupture Detection Standards  Not Listed Not Listed April 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 seeks comments on renewal of two information collections.  On March 6, PHMSA issued a notice requesting comments on the proposed renewal of two information collections expiring May 31.  The first information collection involves the requirement that operators who do not operate buried gas lines located downstream of a customer’s service line send written notices to customers describing the proper maintenance of such lines and the potential hazards of not properly maintaining them.  Operators must maintain a copy of the notice currently in use and evidence that notices were sent to customers within the previous three years.  The second information collection relates to the requirement that operators develop and implement written continuing public education programs and submit them to either PHMSA or a State Authority.  Comments must be submitted to PHMSA by May 7. 

The Voluntary Information-Sharing Working Group will meet April 5.  PHMSA has announced that the Voluntary Information-Sharing (VIS) Working Group will convene a public meeting on April 5 to continue discussing the need for and identification of a voluntary information-sharing system among operators.  Topics addressed by the VIS Working Group include requirements of section 10 the Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016, integrity management, data types and tools, in-line inspection methods, geographic information system implementation, examples of existing information-sharing systems and safety management systems. 

UPDATES FROM OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES

BSEE seeks comments on renewal of an information collection related to oil spill response plans for facilities located seaward of the coast line.  On March 6, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) issued a notice requesting comments on the proposed renewal of an information collection related to spill-response plans for oil-handling facilities located seaward of the coast line, including associated pipelines.  The information collection also covers any related Notices to Lessees and Operators (NTLs) issued by BSEE to clarify, supplement, or provide additional regulatory guidance.  Comments on the information collection must be submitted to BSEE no later than May 7. 

BSEE seeks comments on renewal of an information collection related to Safety and Environmental Management Systems.  On March 6, BSEE issued a notice requesting comments on the proposed renewal of an information collection related to the Safety and Environmental Management Systems program which describes management commitment and policies and procedures to facilitate safety and environmental protection during operations on the Outercontinental Shelf.  The information collection also covers any related NTLs issued by BSEE to clarify, supplement, or provide additional regulatory guidance.  Comments on the information collection must be submitted to BSEE no later than May 7.

SELECT UPDATES FROM STATES

ILLINOIS

Introduced on February 16, Senate Resolution 1416 would require that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources prepare a report reviewing current regulations for oil and gas pipelines, oil and gas extraction, and underground gas storage in Illinois and recommend regulatory changes to improve public safety.  The report is to be completed by December 31, 2018.  The proposed resolution has been referred to the Committee on Assignments.

IOWA

Introduced on February 16, companion bills HF2394 and SF2235 would establish criminal and civil penalties for sabotaging critical infrastructure, which is defined to include pipelines, trucks and rail cars transporting and storing gas and petroleum products and related facilities.  Sabotaging critical infrastructure would constitute a Class “B” felony and be punishable by fines up to $100,000 and imprisonment for up to 25 years.  HF2394 has been referred to the Committee on Public Safety.  SF2235 was passed by the Iowa Senate on February 21.  HF2394 has been placed on the calendar in the House of Representatives.

LOUISIANA

The Louisiana Office of Conservation—Pipeline Safety has issued a notice of intent to incorporate by reference as state regulations the federal pipeline safety regulations applicable to gas and hazardous liquid pipelines and LNG facilities.  Comments are due April 4, 2018.  The proposal is here and begins on page 354.

Introduced on February 21, HB104 would increase the maximum civil penalties for violating pipeline safety regulations from $10,000 per violation per day to $200,000.  The maximum civil penalty for any related series of violations could be increased from $500,000 to $2 million.  The bill has been provisionally referred to the Committee on Natural Resources and Environment. 

WEST VIRGINIA

Introduced on February 16, SB631 would amend the state’s one-call statute to, among other things, eliminate exemptions for state agencies and municipalities; create an Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Board (Board) with enforcement authority; require the West Virginia Public Service Commission to provide the Board with legal, administrative and investigative support; specify the duties and responsibilities of excavators; provide for civil penalties for violations; and require that all underground facilities installed on or after July 1, 2018 be locatable using a generally accepted locating method.  The bill passed the West Virginia Senate on February 28 and has been referred to the West Virginia House of Representatives.

WYOMING

Introduced on February 14, SF0074 would  establish criminal sanctions for intentionally impeding the operation of a critical infrastructure facility, or damaging, destroying, defacing, tampering with or trespass on such facilities, which include oil, gas, hazardous liquid or chemical pipelines, storage facilities, and terminals.  Criminal penalties include up to 10 years imprisonment and fines up to $1 million.  The bill has been referred to the Wyoming House of Representatives. 


To download a full text PDF, which includes Dates of Interest, upcoming PHMSA State Seminars, and State Specific Association Meetings, please click here.