Pending Advanced Notices of Proposed Rulemakings
DOT Estimated Submission to OMB
DOT Estimated Publication
OIRA Estimated Publication
|ANPRM: Class Location Requirements
||Issued August 31, 2018
Coastal Ecological Unusually Sensitive Areas
|| Not Listed
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 announces user fee structure for underground natural gas storage facilities. On August 9, PHMSA issued a notice announcing that it developed the user fee rate structure to fund the Underground Natural Gas Storage Facility Safety Account for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 based on the number of injection/withdrawal wells and monitoring/observation wells that operators reported in their underground natural gas storage annual reports for calendar year 2017. For fiscal year 2020, PHMSA intends to use calendar year 2018 data. The notice also explains how the fee was calculated. In response to a comment that well counts alone are not an appropriate measure for calculating the user fee because larger wells require more regulatory oversight, PHMSA explained that each well presents risk and that it intends to apply a consistent level of regulatory oversight to all wells, regardless of size.
PHMSA requests comments on Pipeline Risk Modeling Report. On August 16, PHMSA issued a notice requesting comments on a report developed to support improvements in gas and hazardous liquid pipeline risk models titled “Pipeline Risk Modeling – Overview of Methods and Tools for Improved Implementation.” The report, which is based on the results of PHMSA’s Risk Modeling Work Group, provides an overview of the major types of pipeline risk models and their effectiveness in supporting risk assessments and pipeline operator decisions. Comments are due on October 17.
PHMSA requests comments on changes to OPID Request and National Registry forms. On August 9, PHMSA issued a notice announcing that it would request OMB approval for a revised Operator Assignment (OPID) Request form (PHMSA F 1000.1) and National Registry Notification form (PHMSA F 1000.2). PHMSA proposes to revise both forms to add underground natural gas storage as a facility type. Additional revisions to the OPID Request form include collecting information about liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) facilities serving fewer than 100 customers and modifying the instructions to explain expectations for small LPG and master meter operators. Additional revisions to the National Registry Notification form include collecting additional information about types of construction projects and collecting county data for additional types of facilities. Comments are due by October 9
PHMSA Voluntary Information Sharing Working Group schedules new meetings. PHMSA has announced that the Voluntary Information-Sharing (VIS) Working Group will convene public meetings in Washington D.C. on October 3 and November 9 to continue discussions regarding establishment of a voluntary information-sharing system. Topics addressed by the VIS Working Group include requirements of section 10 of 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. Information on the meetings is here.
PHMSA appoints Deputy Associate Administrator for Policy and Programs. On August 8, PHMSA announced the appointment of Massoud Tahamtani as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Policy and Programs with PHMSA’s Office of Pipeline Safety. Tahamtani previously served as the Director of the Division of Utility and Railroad Safety with the Virginia State Corporation Commission.
UPDATES FROM OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES
DOT OIG releases report addressing how DOT operating administrations refer potential criminal activity. On August 22, DOT’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report assessing DOT’s policies and procedures for promptly referring potential criminal activity to OIG. With respect to PHMSA, OIG found that the Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) requires that all referrals arising from enforcement activities involving a regulated entity be reviewed by the Office of Chief Counsel. According to OIG, OPS’s Pipeline Safety Enforcement Procedures manual sets forth a multi-step process involving documenting evidence, conducting legal research, gathering records, and preparing a memorandum. OIG found that this process is inherently contrary to DOT’s requirement that such referrals be made without delay. OIG recommended several measures to ensure that DOT and its operating administrations have policies and procedures to promptly refer potential criminal violations to OIG.
UPDATES ON LITIGATION
Wildearth Guardians files complaint against PHMSA. On August 14, Wildearth Guardians filed a complaint against PHMSA alleging failure to ensure that oil and gas pipelines and associated facilities on publicly-owned, federally-managed lands throughout the United States are annually examined and inspected. WildEarth Guardians claims that such inspections are required by the Mineral Leasing Act.
SELECT UPDATES FROM STATES
On June 29, the California Department of Conservation Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources announced that new final regulations for underground gas storage projects have been finalized to replace emergency rules that have been in effect since early 2016. The new regulations include standards, specifications, and requirements for well construction, mechanical integrity testing, risk management plans, emergency response plans, project data, monitoring, inspection, and project decommissioning. The regulations become effective October 1.
SB 167 went into effect on August 8, 2018, enhancing enforcement of the excavation damage prevention law and creating the Underground Damage Prevention Safety Commission (Commission). The commission has rulemaking and enforcement authority regarding specified portions of the excavation damage prevention law. Under current law, certain underground facilities are considered “tier 2” members of the notification association, and excavators must contact them directly to request marking of their facilities. Effective January 1, 2021, all underground facility owners and operators will be full members of the notification association, and excavators will no longer need to contact the owners or operators directly to arrange for marking of underground facilities. The law requires all new underground facilities installed after January 1, 2020, to be electronically locatable.
On August 17, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) published a proposed rulemaking which would incorporate by reference Parts 192 and 199 and select provisions of Part 191 of the federal pipeline safety regulations that were in effect on July 1, 2018, and would clarify that reports required by Part 191 that pertain only to the downhole portion of an underground natural gas storage facility need not be filed with the ICC. A companion proposed rule would remove several obsolete references to PHMSA’s report forms, allow for electronic filing of certain reports to the ICC, and update several statutory citations. Comments are due October 1.
On August 20, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission issued an order requiring that natural gas utilities provide and pay for excess flow valves (EFVs) and curb valves upon customer request, modify customer notices regarding EFVs, and report the status of EFV and curb valve installation. The order also requires that utilities develop plans to discuss installations of EFVs and manual service line shutoff valves with schools, hospitals, and multi-unit residential and nursing facilities that do not have them installed yet.
In May, the Nevada Public Utilities Commission proposed to amend its regulations regarding One Call. The amendment would require an excavator to call emergency 911 services if the excavator causes or observes any damage to a subsurface installation that causes the release of certain gases or hazardous liquids.
The North Dakota Public Service Commission has amended its rules to adopt by reference Part 193 and to update the adopted versions of Parts 190, 191, 192, 194, 195 and 199, to those that were in effect as of December 31, 2017.
On June 18, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission amended the gas and hazardous liquid pipeline safety regulations to adopt the versions of 49 CFR Parts 192, 195, 198, and 199 that were in effect on January 1, 2018. The updated rules are effective on October 1.
HB 2605 was introduced on September 5 and would impose an impact fee on operators that utilize oil and gas pipelines, including gathering lines. The fee will be based on the acreage of linear feet plus right-of-way width using the county average land value in an “affected area,” which is defined as an HCA, and will not be imposed on pipelines in existence on the new law’s effective date. Funds will be remitted to counties and municipalities containing affected areas. The bill was referred to the Committee on Environmental Resources and Energy.
House Resolution No. 1034, introduced on September 5, would, among other things, direct the Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to prepare a comprehensive assessment of the construction and operation risks associated with the Sunoco Pipeline L.P. Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline project and address public concerns about enforcement of permit protections and safety standards. The proposed resolution also would direct the DEP to require that Sunoco submit a detailed plan addressing spills of drilling fluid. The resolution was referred to the Committee on Environmental Resources and Energy.
HB1024 was signed by the Governor on February 22, establishing the Statewide One‐Call Notification Board through which a person can notify operators of underground facilities of plans to excavate and request the marking of the facilities. It requires all operators to become members of the one-call notification center and submit the locations of their underground facilities to the center. The law becomes effective on July 1, 2019.
On June 12, the Virginia State Corporation Commission issued an order adopting proposed regulations outlined in a January 23 petition for rulemaking by Columbia Gas of Virginia. The rule provides greater flexibility when conducting trenchless excavation that crosses gravity fed sewer mains and combination storm/sanitary sewer system utility lines. The new rules became effective on July 1, 2018.
To download a full text PDF, which includes Dates of Interest, upcoming PHMSA State Seminars, and State Specific Association Meetings, please click here.