In This Issue

Gathering Line Definition: Public Meeting and Request for Comments

OPS has announced a public meeting and an opportunity to submit written comments on the safety regulation of gas and hazardous liquid gathering lines. Congress has directed RSPA to define “gathering line” for gas and hazardous liquid pipeline transportation and, if appropriate, define as “regulated gathering line” those rural gathering lines that, because of specific physical characteristics, should be regulated. The gas pipeline regulations do not clearly distinguish gathering lines from production facilities and transmission lines. This lack of clarity has caused many disputes between government and industry over whether the regulations cover particular pipelines. OPS will consider all public comments in developing future proposals on gathering lines.

The public meeting will occur Wednesday, November 19, 2003, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and Thursday, November 20, 2003, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Omni Austin Hotel, 700 San Jacinto Blvd, Austin, TX, 78701 (phone: 512-476-3700). If you want to make an oral presentation, please notify Janice Morgan by November 14, 2003, by phone (202-366-2392 ) or by e-mail (, and state the approximate length of your presentation. In addition, you may submit written comments to the docket by December 19, 2003 (docket No. RSPA-98-4868).

OPS is especially interested in receiving comments on the following:

  1. The point where gas production ends and gas gathering begins.
  2. The point where gas gathering ends and gas transmission or distribution begins.
  3. In defining “regulated gathering line,” whether we should consider factors besides those that Congress specified (see footnote 2). For example, should we consider population density (by census or house count), or for hazardous liquid lines, potential for environmental damage.
  4. Whether Part 195 should apply to rural gathering lines that operate at more than 20 percent of specified minimum yield strength, or that could adversely affect an “unusually sensitive area” as defined in § 195.6. (Note that certain crude oil gathering lines are, by law, exempt from safety regulation (see footnote 2)).
  5. If you recommend safety regulations for rural gas or hazardous liquid gathering lines, to which rural lines would the regulations apply and why, approximately how many miles would be covered by the regulations, and what would be the estimated cost per mile of complying with the regulations.
  6. The approximate mileage of rural gathering lines not now covered by Part 195.
  7. Whether safety regulations for gas or hazardous liquid rural gathering lines operating at low stress (e.g., 20 percent or less of specified minimum yield strength) or a specified pressure for plastic lines should be fewer and possibly less stringent than regulations for other rural gathering lines.

There will be an open session for questions and answers before the close of the meeting. Additional meetings are being planned, and dates and places will be announced in future notices.