On March 5th, PHMSA published in the Federal Register a notice announcing a delay of the effective date of its Gas Pipeline Regulatory Reform final rule that was published in the Federal Register on January 11, 2021, (86 FR 2210) until March 21, 2021. RCP published a detailed summary of changes included in the Gas Pipeline Regulatory Reform Final Rule in our January newsletter. The final rule includes changes to reporting, standards incorporated by reference, farm tap treatment, corrosion monitoring, pressure vessel testing, plastic pipe, welding and pre-testing of certain pipelines.
In conjunction with the delay of the effective date of the Gas Pipeline Regulatory Reform final rule, PHMSA is also delaying until March 21, 2021, its withdrawal of the March 26, 2019, “Exercise of Enforcement Discretion Regarding Farm Taps” and the unpublished October 27, 2015, letter to the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America announcing a stay of enforcement pertaining to certain pressure vessels. The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the final rule is delayed to March 21, 2021. The delays in the effective dates are a result of the January 20, 2021 “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review” memorandum from the Biden administration.
Finally, PHMSA also published an amendment to its Gas Pipeline Regulatory Reform final rule that corrects the amendatory instructions to 49 CFR 192.281 and appendix B to part 192. PHMSA also corrected the new regulatory text under §192.507(d) for pipelines that operate less than 30% SMYS and above 100psig to remove the word “hydrostatic” in reference to pressure testing of fabricated units and short sections of pipe where post-installation testing is impractical. This correction is also effective March 21, 2021.
If you would like a copy of this final rule and the corrections, contact Jessica Foley.