A meeting of the Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Committee (TPSSC), the gas pipeline advisory committee, will be held on Thursday, July 18, 2002, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Washington, DC. The TPSSC will be advising the Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) and voting on the proposed definition of High Consequence Areas (HCA) for Gas Transmission Operators which was published on January 9, 2002 (67FR 1108). This definition will be referenced in an upcoming proposed rule on Pipeline Integrity Management in HCAs (Gas Transmission Pipeline Operators). OPS will brief the TPSSC on integrity management concepts for gas pipelines and on the comments received in response to previous notices. In addition, OPS will present the draft cost-benefit analysis prepared for the upcoming proposed rule on integrity management programs for gas transmission pipelines. Because of the importance of this rule, OPS is providing the regulatory evaluation for peer review by the TPSSC before the proposed rule has been finalized.
Members of the public may attend the meetings at the Department of Transportation, Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. The exact location and room number for this meeting will be posted on the OPS web page approximately 15 days before the meeting date at http://ops.dot.gov. An opportunity will be provided for the public to make short statements on the topics under discussion. Anyone wishing to make an oral statement should notify Juan Carlos Martinez, (202) 366-1933, not later than July 12, 2002, on the topic of the statement and the length of your presentation. The presiding officer at each meeting may deny any request to present an oral statement and may limit the time of any presentation.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cheryl Whetsel, OPS, (202) 366-4431 or Richard Huriaux, OPS, (202) 366-4565, regarding the subject matter of this notice.
The upcoming proposed integrity management rule for gas transmission pipelines (docket RSPA-00-7666) maintains the duty of a gas pipeline to comply with the current pipeline safety regulations, but creates a protective umbrella of more comprehensive assessment, repair, prevention, and mitigative actions in those areas (high consequence areas) where a failure would do the greatest damage. This assessment process will produce better information about problems that may have been missed and creates checks and balances to assure that the best use is made of available information to correct newly found problems.
Key concepts OPS is considering for the proposed gas integrity management rule include:
1. Expansion of the areas where added protection is required based on history of recent accidents in which a large impact area was experienced.
2. Improvement of protection though better inspection and management technology.
3. Establishment of stronger repair requirements.
4. Integration of various kinds of information to provide a clearer picture of threats.
5. Requirement to address each threat to integrity.
In addition to requirements for cost-benefit analysis of proposed pipeline safety standards, Federal law (49 U.S.C. 60115(c)) requires that OPS submit cost-benefit results and risk assessment information to one of two advisory committees established to support OPS on technical and policy issues. A key responsibility of the TPSSC is to provide peer review and evaluation of OPS’ cost-benefit analyses for proposed gas pipeline standards. The TPSSC must: (1) Evaluate the merit of the data and methods used within the analyses, and (2) when appropriate, provide recommendations relating to the cost-benefit analyses.
OPS will consider the advice of the TPSSC and its peer review of the draft regulatory evaluation in crafting the proposed rule to require gas transmission pipelines to institute integrity management programs. The proposed rule will be submitted to the TPSSC for comment after it is published. Any comments by the TPSSC will be carefully considered before a final rule is issued.