In This Issue

Federal Oversight of State Pipeline Damage Prevention Programs – NPRM

[Docket No. PHMSA-2009-0192] RIN 2137–AE43

PHMSA has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to establish the criteria and procedures for PHMSA to exercise federal oversight of state damage prevention programs, and to implement federal programs when the state programs are deemed to be inadequate. The proposed regulations would revise the Pipeline Safety Regulations to establish:

  • criteria and procedures for determining the adequacy of state pipeline excavation damage prevention programs;
  • an administrative process for making adequacy determinations;
  • the Federal requirements PHMSA will enforce in a state (if required); and,
  • the adjudication process for administrative enforcement proceedings against excavators where Federal authority is exercised.

Pursuant to the Pipeline Inspection, Protection, Enforcement, and Safety (PIPES) Act of 2006, establishment of review criteria for state excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs is a prerequisite should PHMSA find it necessary to conduct an enforcement proceeding against an excavator in the absence of an adequate enforcement program in the state where the violation occurs. The development of these criteria and the subsequent determination of the adequacy of state excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs is intended to encourage states to develop effective excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs to protect the public from the risk of pipeline ruptures caused by excavation damage, and allow for Federal administrative enforcement action in states with inadequate enforcement programs.

Submit comments on this NPRM by June 1, 2012, and reference Docket Number PHMSA–2009–0192. Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal.

For a copy of this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, contact Jessica Roger.