Updates / Newsletters

Pipeline Safety Update - Issue No. 120

January 19, 2017

PHMSA Releases Final Rule Amending Safety Regulations for Hazardous Liquid Pipelines

Note:  On January 20, 2017, the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff for the White House, Reince Priebus, issued a “Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies,” (Memorandum) instructing that agencies withdraw regulations that have been sent to the Office of the Federal Register, but have not yet been published, so that they can be reviewed and approved by a department or agency head appointed or designated by the President after January 20, 2017.  As of January 23, 2017, PHMSA’s final rule amending Part 195 regulations for hazardous liquid pipelines has not been published in the Federal Register, and under the Memorandum, may be withdrawn from the Office of Federal Register.  Consequently, the final rule’s date of publication and the effective date of the amended regulations may be delayed.  

On January 13, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) released an advance copy of its final rule amending the Part 195 regulations for hazardous liquid pipelines.  The revised regulations will become effective 6 months after publication in the Federal Register.  The final rule responds to issues raised by recent pipeline accidents; implements new provisions in the Pipeline Safety Laws; addresses recommendations of the National Transportation Safety Board and the Government Accountability Office; and responds to comments submitted on PHMSA’s 2010 Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and 2015 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

The final rule’s amendments to Part 195 include the following: 

Operators must periodically assess onshore, piggable non-HCA (non-IM) line pipe.  At least once every 10 years, onshore hazardous liquid transmission line pipe located outside of high consequence areas (HCA) (i.e., pipe not subject to integrity management (IM) requirements) and that can accommodate in-line-inspection (ILI) tools must be inspected using an ILI tool appropriate for the threats relevant to the pipe segment.  If using an ILI tool is operationally impracticable, an operator must use a pressure test, external corrosion direct assessment, or other technology.  Use of other technology requires providing PHMSA at least 90 days advance notice and receiving a “no objection” response.  Data from an assessment must be analyzed by a person qualified by knowledge, training and experience.  Discovery of a condition presenting a potential threat to the pipeline’s integrity must occur in 180 days.  Initial assessments must be completed by December 31, 2027.  Notably, the final rule did not adopt the NPRM’s broader proposal to require inspection of all non-HCA pipelines, including covered offshore lines and regulated rural gathering, with ILI tools. 

New repair criteria apply to IM pipelines.  The final rule adopts more conservative repair criteria for pipelines subject to IM, but does not adopt the NPRM’s proposal to apply the revised criteria to non-IM pipe.  For IM pipe, the following conditions require immediate repair: metal loss greater than 80% of nominal wall; a metal loss defect with a predicted failure pressure of less than 1.1 x maximum operating pressure (MOP); any dent with indication of metal loss, cracking or a stress riser; a topside dent with depth greater than 6%; significant stress corrosion cracking (SCC) (unless the repair timeframe is extended after performing an engineering critical assessment ECA); and selective seam weld corrosion (SSWC) (unless the repair timeframe is extended after performing an ECA).  An operator may not use ECA for dents that qualify as immediate repair conditions. 

The final rule also identifies conditions that must be evaluated and remediated within 270 days of discovery and establishes requirements for evaluating all other conditions.  The final rule eliminates existing 60-day and 180-day repair categories. 

IM pipe must be modified to accommodate ILI.  Within 20 years, an operator must ensure that each pipeline subject to IM is modified to accommodate the passage of an ILI device.  An operator may petition PHMSA for a finding that a pipeline’s basic construction cannot be modified to permit the tool or that the operator has determined it would abandon or shut-down the line because of the cost to modify the pipeline.  An operator must modify a pipeline affecting a new HCA within 5 years of identifying the HCA, or before performing the baseline assessment, whichever occurs first.

Other modifications will affect IM pipe.  The final rule makes other notable modifications to IM requirements:

Assessment methods.  Unlike current regulations which allow an operator to assess the integrity of line pipe using ILI, a pressure test, external corrosion direct assessment, or other technology, the final rule requires use of an ILI unless impracticable. 

Information analysis.  The final rule specifies the data elements, including specific pipe attributes, that an operator must integrate into its information analysis.

Annual verification of covered segments. An operator must annually verify the risk factors used in identifying pipeline segments that could affect an HCA. 

Engineering Critical Assessment.  The final rule specifies how an operator is to perform an ECA. 

Non-HCA pipelines must have leak detection systems.  Non-HCA onshore hazardous liquid pipelines transporting liquid in a single phase (except regulated rural gathering pipelines) must implement effective leak detection systems.  An operator must evaluate the capability of its leak detection system to protect the public, property and the environment and modify the system as necessary.  Computational pipeline monitoring leak detection systems must comply with American Petroleum Institute Recommended Practice 1130.  Existing pipelines must comply within 5 years; pipelines that become operational after the rule becomes effective must comply within 1 year. 

Pipelines must be inspected after extreme weather events or natural disasters.  Within 72 hours after the cessation of an extreme weather event, natural disaster, or other similar event, an operator must inspect all potentially affected pipeline facilities to detect conditions that could adversely affect the pipeline’s safe operations, and promptly take appropriate remedial action to ensure the safe operation of the pipeline.  An operator unable to commence an inspection because personnel or equipment are unavailable must notify the PHMSA regional director. 

New reporting requirements apply to gravity and onshore gathering pipelines.  Operators of pipelines that transport hazardous liquids by gravity (which currently are exempt from Part 195) and all onshore hazardous liquid gathering pipelines (including unregulated rural gathering) must submit annual, safety-related condition, and accident reports for these lines.  The reports are intended to inform PHMSA about the safety performance of these lines and risks posed to the public.  Reports are not required for gravity lines that qualify as low-stress pipelines traveling no more than 1 mile from a facility boundary and that do not cross any waterways used for commercial navigation.  Annual reports will be due 12 months after the regulations become effective; safety-related condition reports and accident reports will be required 6 months after the effective date. 

Other clarifications in the final rule

New Definitions.  The final rule adopts new definitions for the terms “hazardous liquid,” “engineering critical assessment,” and “significant stress corrosion cracking.”

Safety Data Sheets.  The final rule codifies the requirement in the PIPES Act of 2016 that, within 6 hours of providing notice to the National Response Center of a hazardous liquid pipeline spill, the pipeline owner or operator must provide safety data sheets on any spilled hazardous liquid to designated federal on-site coordinator and appropriate state and local emergency responders. 

Inspection of Underwater Pipelines.  The final rule codifies the PIPES Act requirement that operators of non-offshore underwater hazardous liquid pipelines in high consequence areas located at depths greater than 150 feet must complete ILI assessments at least once every 12 months and use other technologies that further the operator’s understanding of the integrity of the pipeline. 

PHMSA will revise information collected from operators.  PHMSA will submit new and revised information collection requests to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) seeking authorization to collect the information proposed in the final rule.  Comments will be due 60 days after the final rule is published in the Federal Register

PHMSA’s Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee Holds First Meeting to Consider Proposed Regulations for Gas Transmission and Gathering Pipelines

On January 11-12, the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC) convened the first of at least two meetings to discuss PHMSA’s NPRM that would extensively modify Part 191 and Part 192 of the federal pipeline safety regulations applicable to gas transmission and gathering pipelines.  GPAC is a peer review committee established under the Pipeline Safety Laws and advises PHMSA on proposed safety standards, making recommendations regarding the “technical feasibility, reasonableness, cost-effectiveness, and practicability” of proposed standards.  GPAC considered the following topics:  modifying the 7-year reassessment interval under IM, safety features for ILI launchers and receivers, seismicity provisions, inspections after extreme weather events, management of change, records, corrosion control, corrosion preventative and mitigation measures, and IM clarifications.  The next meeting is scheduled for February 28-March 2.

PHMSA Rulemakings UpdateThe tables below summarize the status of PHMSA’s rulemakings as reported in the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) December Significant Rulemaking Report, and by the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Fall 2016 Unified Regulatory Agenda.  


Pending Final Rules


DOT Estimated Submission to OMB*

DOT Estimated Publication

OIRA Estimated Publication 

Enhanced Emergency Order Procedures   Not listed by DOT  Not listed by DOT No estimate provided 
Inflation Adjustment of Maximum Civil Penalties 

Not listed by DOT

Not listed by DOT

February 2017

Operator Qualification, Cost Recovery, Accident and Incident Notification, and Other Pipeline Safety Proposed Changes

Not listed by DOT

Publication expected January 23, 2017

December 2016 

Plastic Pipe Rule

Not listed by DOT  Not listed by DOT  December 2016

Safety of Gas Transmission and Gathering Pipelines

August 29, 2017  December 11, 2017 Not Listed 

Safety of Hazardous Liquid Pipelines

Advance copy released January 13, 2017

Underground Storage Facilities (interim final rule) 

Issued December 19, 2016


Pending Notices of Proposed Rulemaking


DOT Estimated Submission to OMB*

DOT Estimated Publication 

OIRA Estimated Publication 

Standards Update Rule – 2015 and Beyond (formerly the “Periodic Updates of Regulatory References to Technical Standards and Miscellaneous Amendments”)  Not listed by DOT  Not listed by DOT November 2016

State Pipeline Safety Program Certification

Not listed by DOT

Not listed by DOT

November 2016

Valve Installation and Minimum Rupture Detection Standards

 January 24, 2017  May 3, 2017 May 2017 


*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. While the EO sets out deadlines for OMB evaluation, review periods are often extended.   


PHMSA seeks applications for state Damage Prevention Grants.  PHMSA is seeking applications from eligible States and municipalities to obtain funding for damage prevention program activities.  Applications are due January 23.  Details on the grant opportunity are available here by searching for Funding Opportunity Number DTPH5617SN000001.

PHMSA announces 2017 minimum rate for random drug testing.  On December 27, PHMSA issued a notice announcing that the minimum random drug testing rate for covered employees will remain at 25 percent during 2017.  PHMSA’s announcement also reminds operators that drug and alcohol testing information is required for contractors performing or ready to perform covered functions.

PHMSA requests additional comments on revised incident and accident report forms.  On December 27, PHMSA issued a notice and request for comments regarding information collections to revise the Incident Report forms for gas distribution systems, natural and other gas transmission and gathering pipeline systems, and liquefied natural gas facilities, and the Accident Report form for hazardous liquid pipeline systems.  The notice was initially proposed on May 13, 2016 and the current notice addresses comments received in response to the previous notice.  PHMSA will submit this information collection to OMB for approval.  Comments on the burden estimate associated with these information collections must be submitted to OMB by January 26. 



In November 2016, the Missouri Public Service Commission proposed to amend its gas pipeline safety regulations to adopt the 2015 amendments to the annual, incident, and safety-related condition reporting requirements in 49 C.F.R. Part 191 and incorporate by reference current versions of report forms; adopt amendments to gas pipeline safety regulations in 49 C.F.R. Part 192 promulgated between September 2013 and January 2016 and make clarifications; and amend the Missouri regulations to conform to amendments to the drug and alcohol testing requirements of 49 C.F.R. Parts 40 and 199.  A public hearing on these proposals is scheduled for January 20.


S. 66 (Hoylman) and SB 02186 (Alcantara)

These bills would require operators of liquid petroleum pipeline facilities to accelerate the repair, rehabilitation, and replacement of equipment or pipelines that are leaking or at a high-risk of leaking or are no longer fit for service.  The New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) would be required to develop prioritized timelines to repair all leaks (including non-hazardous leaks) based on their severity, or replace leaking or high-risk piping or equipment.  Operators in cities with a population of one million or more would be required to establish a database of pipeline infrastructure that includes age and state of repair that would be shared with the “coordinated building inspection data analysis system.”  The bills have been referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications.

The NYPSC has amended its regulations (see page 33 at this link) to align them with 49 C.F.R. Parts 192, 193, and 195 of the federal pipeline safety regulations.  The amendments became effective on December 28, 2016.


On December 29, 2016, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would amend the state gas and hazardous liquid pipeline safety regulations to adopt updated versions of federal regulations under Part 192, Part 195, and Part 198.  Comments are due February 21.  The Transportation Division of the OCC will convene a technical conference on February 23.  The OCC en banc will consider permanently adopting the proposed rules at a public hearing to be convened on March 9. 


S.B. 7 (Courtney) and HB 2131 (Warner)

These bills propose directing the Environmental Quality Commission to adopt rules applying certain spill prevention and emergency response planning requirements to railroads that own or operate high hazard train routes.  The Senate version of the bill has been referred to the Committee on Veterans and Emergency Preparedness.


The Wisconsin Public Service Commission has proposed to amend its regulations to adopt the federal pipeline safety regulations in 49 C.F.R. Parts 192, 193 and 199 as adopted through the effective date of the proposed rules.  Comments were due January 16.  


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


Susan A. Olenchuk
Washington, DC
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Dates of Interest

January 2022
19 API Virtual Pipeline Facilities Integrity Workshop
31-2/4 GSP Pipeline Pigging and Integrity Management Conference, Houston, TX
February 2022
14 Comments due on ICA, Gas and Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Program Performance Report
22-26 PLCA 74th Annual Convention, Phoenix, AZ
25 Comments due on Interim Final Rule Amending USA Definition
March 2022
1-3 Global Excavation Safety Conference and Expo, Phoenix, AZ
13-16 SGA Spring Gas Conference, Columbia, SC
25-30 APCA Annual Convention, Scottsdale, AZ
29-31 PRCI The Technology for Future and Ageing Pipelines Conference, Virtual
April 2022
4-6 MEA Gas Ops Roundtable, Omaha, NE
4-8 Common Ground Alliance Conference & Expo, Anaheim, CA
19-20 NGA Spring Operations Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY

State-Specific Association Meetings

January 2022
11 OGA Codes and Regulations Meeting, Virtual
31-2/2 Louisiana Damage Prevention Summit, Baton Rouge, LA
February 2022
7-10 Nebraska Pipeline Safety Seminar, Kearney, NE
23-24 MNGA Annual Tradeshow, Tupelo, MS
March 2022
22-23 KGA Annual Expo, Lexington, KY