DOT Pipeline Compliance News

August 2003 Issue

In This Issue

Outer Continental Shelf-Incident Reporting Requirements

The Minerals Management Service (MMS) has proposed a rule to revise and clarify MMS requirements for reporting incidents associated with Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas and other mineral operations. MMS has developed these reporting requirements in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and intends them to be as consistent as possible with USCG requirements for incidents where the two agencies have mutual interest and responsibilities. MMS is also working with the USCG to develop a single point electronic reporting system that would allow incident reports submitted through this single point to be sent to both agencies. This will help minimize duplicative reporting required by the two agencies.

This proposed rule revises and clarifies MMS requirements for reporting incidents associated with OCS oil and gas and other mineral operations:

  1. Several definitions are added, including the term “incident” which replaces the term “accident” currently used in the regulations; Note that this includes incidents that occur associated with an easement (such as a pipeline easement), as defined below:

    § 250.187(a) Incidents that:
    1. Occur on the area covered by your lease, easement, right-of-way, or other permit; and
    2. Are related to operations resulting from the exercise of your rights under your lease, easement, right-of-way, or permit. This includes incidents involving vessels engaged in OCS activities as defined in § 250.105

  2. More specific incident reporting thresholds for various incident types are established;
  3. Written reports are required and must be submitted electronically; and
  4. Two new MMS forms are proposed so that consistent information will be reported to MMS for all incidents.

During the comment period for this rule, MMS will hold a workshop to discuss the rule and the development of an electronic reporting system. MMS and USCG encourage your comments on any aspect of this proposed rule and your participation in the workshop. Comments must be received by October 6, 2003. If you wish to comment, mail or hand-carry comments (three copies) to the Department of the Interior; Minerals Management Service; Mail Stop 4024; 381 Elden Street; Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817; Attention: Rules Processing Team (Comments). If you wish to respond by e-mail, the e-mail address is: Use the term “Incident Reporting” in your e-mail subject line. Include your name and address in your e-mail message and mark your message for return receipt. You may submit comments with respect to the information collection burden of the proposed rule either by fax (202) 395-5806 or email ( directly to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget; Attention: Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior (OMB control number 1010-0XXX).

The complete rule proposal can be downloaded from RCP’s website here through the DOT Gateway. For further information, contact Melinda Mayes at 703-787-1063 or Staci Atkins at 703-787-1620, Engineering and Operations Division.

MMS / USCG Incident Reporting Requirements Public Meeting

The Minerals Management Service and the US Coast Guard will hold a meeting on September 3, 2003, from 1 p.m. to approximately 4 p.m. at the MMS Gulf of Mexico Regional office (Room 111), 1201 Elmwood Park Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70123, to explain the Proposed Rule for Incident Reporting Requirements that was published on July 8, 2003 (68 FR 40585) and allow participants to ask questions. The goal of this proposed rule is to make the reporting requirements between the two agencies more consistent. The MMS and USCG are also developing an electronic reporting system to help eliminate duplicative reporting between the two agencies. There is no fee to attend the meeting and registration is not required.

The MMS and USCG encourage you to submit questions in advance and attend the meeting. Please submit pre-meeting written questions by mail or fax to Melinda Mayes at: Minerals Management Service, 381 Elden Street, MS 4022, Herndon, VA 20170, Fax number: (703) 787-1555. The MMS / USCG will consider your questions in preparing the presentations so they can focus on key topics. Questions must reach the MMS office by close of business on August 22, 2003. You may also pose questions during the question and answer session at the meeting.

The agencies have also extended the previous deadline of October 6, 2003, for submitting comments on the proposed rule to December 5, 2003.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Melinda Mayes, MMS, Engineering and Operations Division, at (703) 787-1063 or Staci Atkins, MMS, Engineering and Operations Division, at (703) 787-1620.

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Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Advisory Committee Meeting

The Research and Special Programs Administration’s (RSPA) Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) will convene a meeting of the Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Committee (TPSSC) on Thursday, July 31, 2003, from 10 a.m. to 12 Noon to discuss and vote on the cost-benefit analysis for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, “Pipeline Integrity Management for Gas Transmission Pipelines in High Consequence Areas” (68 FR 4278) and discuss and vote on recommended guidance on how to clarify, in the final rule, the process of identifying certain sites as high consequence areas. RSPA/OPS will brief the TPSSC on the Department of Transportation’s conceptual framework for a five-year research and development program to ensure the integrity of pipeline facilities as required by Section 12 of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002. RSPA/OPS staff will also brief the Committee and request their advice on a possible rulemaking to update the gas pipeline operator personnel qualification regulation.

Advisory Committee members will participate via telephone conference call. Members of the public may attend the meeting in room 4236 at the U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC. 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 Jean Milam, (202) 493-0967, not later than July 18, 2003, on the topic of the statement and the length of the presentation. The presiding officer at the meeting may deny any request to present an oral statement and may limit the time of any presentation. You may also submit written comments (reference docket number RSPA-98-4470).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cheryl Whetsel, OPS, (202) 366-4431 or Richard Huriaux, OPS, (202) 366-4565.

Hazmat Security Regulations / RCP Audit Protocol

On March 25, 2003, the Research and Special Project Administration (RSPA) of the DOT adopted a new security requirement for certain transporters of hazardous materials. The rule covers Facilities, Shippers, Trucks and Rail Cars that are involved in bulk (not pipeline) transportation of hazardous materials in a packaging having a capacity equal to or greater than3,500 gallons for liquids or gases or more than 468 cubic feet for solids, or ship any quantity of hazardous material that requires placarding.

There are two main components of the new rule: security plans and training. Security plans must be developed by September 25, 2003. The security plan must assess possible transportation security risks for shipments of hazardous materials and must contain appropriate measures to address the assessed risks. Effective December 22, 2003, each HAZMAT employee must be trained concerning the security plan and its implementation. Also, no later than March 24, 2006 all HAZMAT employees must receive comprehensive security training. In addition, the new rules require security training of HAZMAT employees within 90 days of employment and then every three years. Hazmat employees includes those involved with loading, handling, operating a vehicle for transport and also those who prepare hazardous materials for transportation.

RCP has developed a Security Protocol based on RSPA’s “Risk Management Framework for Hazardous Materials Transportation”. This protocol contains seven main elements that need to be completed to ensure an effective security program. If this comprehensive Security Protocol is something that you would like to explore, please contact our Vice President of Business Development, Dan Shelledy at

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GLO assuming more oil spill responsibility in Texas

Note: the following is re-printed from the July edition of the Texas General Land Office’s Facility and Maritime Affairs July 2003 newsletter.

Thanks to the efforts of Commissioner Jerry Patterson and the Land Office legislative team, the Texas General Land Office will assume jurisdiction for all maritime oil spills starting September 1st. Starting in the upcoming fiscal year, spills of less than 240 barrels originating from exploration and production facilities and crude oil pipelines, will be in the jurisdictional domain of the GLO. Currently, these types of spills fall within the scope of the Railroad Commission. Commissioner Patterson argued before the Texas Senate and House that the “arbitrary” division of responsibility creates more problems and headaches than it prevents. The new rules, soon to be published in the Texas Register, will result in some minor changes for exploration and production and pipeline facility operators as the General Land Office replaces the Railroad Commission as state responders. It is anticipated that the General Land Office will be on-scene for oil spills at a far greater frequency than the Railroad Commission, since it is fully prepared to launch GLO response vessels for access. Fortunately, the process for reporting spills won’t change as both agencies utilize the same toll free number. Exploration and production and pipeline facility operators are encouraged to contact the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program with any questions regarding the rule changes, or reporting oil spills on the Texas coast.

RCP’s Fantastic 1-Page Version of New SPCC Regulation

The deadline for SPCC Plan revisions is fast approaching, February 17, 2006! RCP has developed a 1-page version (in tiny type) of the new SPCC regulations, to be revised as per the April 17, 2003 rule modification. To receive a complimentary copy along with a CD of valuable SPCC Reference Materials Click Here to request additional information.

Gas Distribution Fees in Texas

The Railroad Commission of Texas proposes new 8.201, relating to Pipeline Safety Program Fees. New Texas Utilities Code, 121.211, authorizes the Commission to adopt by rule an inspection fee to be assessed annually to all operators of natural gas distribution pipelines and their pipeline facilities and natural gas master metered pipelines and their pipeline facilities subject to the Commission’s pipeline safety jurisdiction under Texas Utilities Code, Chapter 121. The fee is to be deposited in the general revenue fund for the operation of the Commission’s pipeline safety program. The total revenue estimated to be collected under such a rule may not exceed the amount estimated by the Commission to be necessary to recover the costs of administering its pipeline safety program under Texas Utilities Code, Chapter 121, excluding costs that are fully funded by federal sources. For fiscal year 2004, the Commission must recover $1,636,729 from the pipeline safety program fee. To do so, the Commission proposes to assess each master metered system a pipeline safety program fee of $100 annually, and each natural gas distribution system a pipeline safety program fee of $0.37 per service.

Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Rules Coordinator, Office of General Counsel, Railroad Commission of Texas, P.O. Box 12967, Austin, Texas 78711-2967; online at; or by electronic mail to The Commission will accept comments for 21 days after publication in the Texas Register and should refer to Gas Utilities Docket No. 9436. For further information, call Mary McDaniel at (512) 463-7058. The status of Commission rulemakings in progress is available at To enable affected persons to have more time to review the proposed new rule and submit comments, the Commission has posted the rule on its web site on or about July 9, 2003, has given direct notice of the proposed new rule to master meter and distribution system operators, and will accept comments on the proposal beginning on that date.

Workshop on Effective Public Awareness Programs for Pipeline Operators

The Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) is co-sponsoring with pipeline industry groups two workshops to facilitate the pipeline industry’s implementation of effective public education and awareness programs. The first workshop is planned for Houston, TX, on September 4th and 5th, 2003. The second workshop is planned for Baltimore, MD, on September 16th & 17th, 2003. The purpose of these workshops is to:

  • familiarize pipeline system operators with the public awareness program guidelines provided in API Recommended Practice (RP) 1162;
  • familiarize operators with relative requirements found in the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 (PSIA); and
  • describe OPS’s self-assessment process approach to help operator’s evaluate and determine the status of their public education programs.

Tentative Agenda:

Day 1

  • Kick-off (OPS, OPS state partners)
  • Industry facilitated review of RP 1162
  • Discussion panel on public education resources, case studies, supplemental practices, etc.
  • OPS description of operator self-assessment process for public education programs
  • OPS facilitated discussion on effective program evaluation techniques

Day 2

  • Facilitated workgroups to review operator self-assessment process

Registration for these workshops is required.

To register for the Houston workshop, click on:;=15&s;=4CBCCDFABEC211D7924C00A0C9E9279D&c;=1

To register for the Baltimore workshop, click on:;=16&s;=4CBCCDFABEC211D7924C00A0C9E9279D&c;=1

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Liquid Advisory Committee Meeting (docket number RSPA-98-4470)

OPS will convene a meeting of the Technical Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Standards Committee (THLPSSC) on Wednesday, August 6 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. via telephone conference call to request the Committee’s input on the conceptual framework of the OPS five-year research and development program plan as required by Section 12 of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002. RSPA/OPS staff will also brief the Committee and request their advice on a possible rule change to the operator qualification standard and on a rulemaking on annual reporting. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cheryl Whetsel, OPS, (202) 366-4431 or Richard Huriaux, OPS, (202) 366-4565.

INGAA OQ Update Meeting

The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) will hold a meeting on Operator Qualification on August 28, 2003, at Duke Energy’s offices in Houston from 12 noon to 5pm. An agenda will be prepared and distributed at a later date. Seating is limited. Contact Linda A. Thomas at or (202)216-5925 if you want to attend this meeting.

Note: This meeting was originally scheduled to be held on August 20, 2003 in Houston at the Duke Energy Building, and was then re-scheduled for September 16, 2003, at the JW Marriott Airport. The August 28 date and location shown above is the latest information, and supercedes the prior information.

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Texas Final Rule: Natural Gas Pipelines Public Education and Liaison

The Railroad Commission of Texas has approved 16 TAC §8.235 relating to public education and liaison programs for gas pipelines. The rule requires that (for regulated intra-state pipelines in Texas):

“Each operator … shall communicate and conduct liaison activities with fire, police, and other appropriate public emergency response officials. The liaison activities are those required by 49 CFR Part 192.615(c)(1)-(4). These liaison activities shall be conducted in person, except as provided by this section.”

Operators must use certified mail, fax, telephone, or e-mail to attempt to arrange the personal meetings. If a scheduled meeting does not take place, the operator must attempt to re-schedule the meeting using these same methods. If these efforts are unsuccessful, the operator should try to arrange a conference call (again using the same methods, and again attempting to re-schedule if a scheduled teleconference does not take place). If these attempts are unsuccessful, the information can be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.

So, the operator may:

  1. schedule a personal meeting,
  2. get stood up,
  3. re-schedule the personal meeting,
  4. get stood up again,
  5. schedule a conference call
  6. get stood up,
  7. re-schedule the conference call
  8. get stood up again,
  9. send the information by certified mail.

Records of all these steps must be kept for 5 years.

In addition, the rule requires:

“Each owner or operator of a natural gas pipeline or natural gas pipeline facility any part of which is located within 1,000 feet of a public school building or recreational area shall notify the Commission by filing with the Gas Services Division, Pipeline Safety Section, the following information:

  1. the name of the school;
  2. the street address of the school; and
  3. the identification (system name) of the pipeline.”

Texas Final Rule: Hazardous Liquid Pipelines Public Education and Liaison

The Texas Railroad Commission has also approved a final rule concerning Hazardous Liquids and Carbon Dioxide Pipelines Public Education and Liaison (16 TAC §8.310). This rule contains identical requirements concerning public liaison with “fire, police, and other appropriate public emergency response officials” as contained in the recent Gas Pipeline regulation (see previous article in this newsletter). However, the portions in the original 16 TAC §8.310 concerning public schools were eliminated, and have been re-proposed in a separate rule numbered 16 TAC §8.315. See elsewhere in this newsletter for additional information on this proposed rule.

Texas Proposed Rule: Hazardous Liquid Pipelines Within 1,000 Feet of a Public School

The Texas Railroad Commission has proposed a rule concerning Hazardous Liquids and Carbon Dioxide Pipelines or Pipeline Facilities Located Within 1,000 feet of a Public School Building of Facility (16 TAC §8.315). This rule will require the operator of any jurisdictional Texas Intrastate Liquid Pipeline or Pipeline Facility located within 1,000 feet of a public school to send the name and street address of the school, and the name of the pipeline to the TRRC. In addition, if requested by the school district, the operator must submit certain information to the district, and if requested, the operator must attend a meeting to discuss the information. Records must be kept for 5 years.

Readers of this newsletter will notice that this proposed rule differs from the original language in the earlier proposal (16 TAC §8.310). Significantly, the operator would no longer be required to present the information each year, and rather is required to present the information only upon written request by the school district.

Texas Proposed Rule on Pipelines Crossing 3 or More Counties

The Railroad Commission of Texas has withdrawn from consideration the proposed new 8.120 concerning notifications for construction of new pipelines that cross 3 or more counties (see our April 2003 newsletter).

Gas Pipeline HCA – Identified Site Guidance

The OPS has prepared a draft advisory bulletin to provide guidance to operators on what constitutes a good faith effort to discover “identified sites” as defined by 49 CFR 192.761(f). It states in part:

“OPS will accept as a good faith search in satisfaction of 192.76 1 (f)( 1)-(4), a search by an operator that discovers identified sites based on knowledge gained by routine operation and maintenance activities as well as sites identified through consultation with appropriate public officials.”

The full bulletin can be downloaded from our website at can be downloaded from RCP’s website here through the DOT Gateway.

Muscular Dystrophy Lockup / Personal note from the editor

The Muscular Dystrophy Association is having a lockup to raise funds for MDA on August 7, and I’ve been selected as one of the “jailees”. The idea is that I need to “raise bail” for MDA, so they will let me out of the slammer. My bail is set at $3,000 – so they must figure I’ve been pretty bad. I realize that many of you agree, and probably believe that I deserve a little jail time. I can’t argue with that… but if I don’t raise bail, I won’t be able to continue editing this FREE newsletter! I’m sure this newsletter is worth TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS to most of you… but MDA would be grateful for a small fraction of that amount.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association is a voluntary health agency – a dedicated partnership between scientists and concerned citizens aimed at conquering neuromuscular diseases that affect more than a million Americans (a lot more than I thought!). MDA combats neuromuscular diseases through programs of worldwide research, comprehensive medical and community services, and far-reaching professional and public health education. You can learn more at the MDA website:

Your generous contributions could help pay for the following items:

  • $25 pays for an annual flu shot
  • $57 pays for 1 minute of research
  • $100 pays for a support group session
  • $650 pays for 1 week at MDA Summer Camp

If this is something that fits into your budget, and is a program you would like to support, please respond to me at with a contribution amount, and I’ll be glad to process the paperwork. They take any form of payment you want. Thanks for your help!

Bill Byrd signature
W. R. (Bill) Byrd, PE
RCP Inc.