DOT Pipeline Compliance News

August 2019 Issue

In This Issue

DOT Final Rule Revisions to Civil Penalty Amounts

[RIN No. 2105-AE80]

In accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015, this final rule provides the 2019 inflation adjustment to civil penalty amounts that may be imposed for violations of certain DOT regulations. PHMSA’s 2019 civil penalty adjustments are summarized in the chart below (49 CFR Part 190 Administrative practice and procedure, penalties, pipeline safety).

Maximum Penalty for: Existing PenaltyNew Penalty
Hazardous materials violation $79,976$81,993
Hazardous materials violation that results in death, serious illness/injury or substantial destruction of property$186,610$191,316
Hazardous materials training violations$481$493
Each pipeline safety violation$213,268$218,647
A related series of pipeline safety violations$2,132,679$2,186,465
LNG pipeline safety violation$77,910$79,875
Discrimination against employees providing pipeline safety information$1,239$1,270

This Final Rule is effective July 31, 2019. For a copy of the Notice from the Federal Register regarding these Civil Penalty adjustments, contact Jessica Foley.

Gas Mega-Rule Support
Are you ready for the three pending gas transmission and gathering regulations? RCP has been heavily involved throughout this rulemaking process and is ready to assist operators as they get prepared.  Whether it’s a deep dive into MAOP records reconfirmation, assessing where your Moderate Consequence Areas exist, reviewing existing pipeline integrity programs, developing action plans to get into compliance, or simply providing training to your team on what’s coming, RCP can help.  Visit or contact Jessica Foley for more information.

PIPES Act of 2019

On Wednesday July 31, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation cleared the PIPES Act of 2019 (S. 2299) bill to be voted on by the full Senate. The legislation will reauthorize the DOT’s Pipeline Safety Program and provide industry with the means to enhance the safety and reliability of the nation’s pipeline transportation system. The bill, S. 2299, is expected to pass the full Senate vote and then merge with its House companion, H.R. 3432, as part of a bipartisan commitment to meet the September 30, 2019 legislative deadline to reauthorize the Pipeline Safety Act (PSA) and continue to fund PHMSA. Some notable additional or significantly revised provisions include a requirement that:

  • PHMSA issue rules that prioritize other methods of inspection over direct assessment;
  • PHMSA study the methods of inspection of distribution pipelines other than direct assessment;
  • Automatic shutoff valves on transmission pipelines in high consequence areas be based on risk assessment “as appropriate”;
  • A professional engineer approve all plans or significant changes to natural gas systems.

Kentucky Proposed Regulation Amendments for Gathering Line Operation and Drilling or Plugging Wells in the Vicinity of Gas Storage Reservoirs

[805 KAR 1:080 Gas Storage Reservoirs and 1:190 Gathering Line]

Updated forms are now available for operators of gathering lines installed under permits issued after March 18, 2004. New operator license and renewal applications shall now be submitted with completed and notarized “Application for Gathering Line Operator’s License” Form OG-2 along with associated fees on or before the expiration date of a current license.

Additionally, the Kentucky DNR Division of Oil and Gas is amending regulations related to coal bed methane wells drilled through gas storage fields in order to protect the integrity of the reservoirs. Storage operators will now be able to file an objection and request a hearing in response to many types of proposed well activity within their storage reservoir protection zones within five days of receipt of a well operator’s application.

TRRC Underground Pipeline Damage Penalty Adjustments Ending after Sept. 1, 2019

The Railroad Commission of Texas (TRRC) will no longer offer penalty adjustments for Stipulation, Agreed Settlement and Consent Orders issued after Sept. 1, 2019 for violating Underground Pipeline Damage Prevention rules.  Penalty amounts will be determined by TRRC in accordance with applicable guidelines, prior to sending an initial notice of violation. Violations are subject to monetary penalties and obligate the pipeline operator or excavator to come into compliance with TRRC rules. The Underground Pipeline Damage Prevention rules can be found in 16 TAC Chapter 18 on the State of Texas website. If you have questions, please contact TRRC’s Pipeline Damage Prevention Program by email at or phone at (512)475-0512.

Underground Gas Storage
RCP is the market leader for underground gas storage integrity and risk management.  We have unmatched industry leaders, including Rick Gentges, Steve Nowaczewski, Terry Rittenhour, Phil Baker and more, available to assess your program and provide practical feedback and recommendations for improving your gas storage integrity and risk programs.  For more information about RCP’s underground gas storage integrity management and risk analysis services, visit our website  or contact Jessica Foley.

TRRC Begins Rulemaking for Pipeline Safety Enhancements

TRRC sought informal comments on rule amendments related to Class 1 and rural gathering lines, implementation of House Bills 866 and 864 requirements, reductions to late fees for certain pipeline operators, and other various updates to TRRC’s Pipeline Safety Regulations found in Chapter 8.

HB 866 prohibits pipeline distribution operators from installing cast iron, wrought iron or bare steel pipelines underground. HB 866 further requires pipeline distribution operators to replace any known underground cast iron pipe by Dec. 31, 2021. HB 864 requires pipeline operators to notify the Railroad Commission within one hour of any incident that results in a death, injury requiring in-patient hospitalization, or the release of three million cubic feet or more of natural gas. This change codifies in state law notifications already required by TRRC through federal pipeline safety regulations. Both HB 866 and HB 864 require TRRC adopt rules by Dec. 31, 2019.

The Commission held a workshop on July 24 accepting verbal and written comments on these rule amendments. The informal comment period ends at 5 p.m., Aug. 12. Draft rule language and other information is posted at:

When the informal comment period ends, the next step will be for TRRC staff to take the informal comments into consideration and adjust the draft proposed rule amendments. These adjusted draft amendments then will be set on a future TRRC conference agenda for the three Railroad Commissioners to vote on publishing in the Texas Register. Once published in the Texas Register, the Commission will take additional public comment on the rules before they are finalized and proposed for adoption by the Commission.

2019 Industry Conference Schedule

Western Regional Gas Conference
August 20-21, 2019
Tempe Mission Palms Hotel | Tempe, Arizona

RCP’s Director of Integrity Services, Sheri Baucom, will be giving a presentation on “Pipeline Pressure Testing Objectives and Acceptance Criteria” on August 20th.  The Western Regional Gas Conference provides a forum for the free exchange of information between natural gas companies and their state and federal regulators, and with associated industry organizations, consultants, manufacturers and vendors that serve the pipeline industry.

RRC Regulatory Conference: Oil & Gas and Pipeline Safety
August 20-21, 2019
AT&T Conference Center | Austin, TX

This conference marks the second year the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) is bringing its oil and gas and pipeline safety experts together to share their knowledge with the energy industry on complying with RRC’s rule requirements. Registration Fees are $350 per person by July 22, 2019 and $450 per person July 23, 2019 – August 16, 2019. No walk-up registration is available. For additional conference information and to register, visit the RRC’s website

API Storage Tank Conference
October 14-17, 2019
Westin Denver Downtown, Denver, CO

The Annual API Storage Tank Conference provides attendees with new information on tank-related research, latest technologies, and API petroleum standards. This informative conference features multiple panels that will help you understand the requirements to maintain tank integrity while complying with environmental rules. Who should attend:

  • Tank owners, managers, or operators
  • Experienced storage tank professionals
  • Senior tank designer or construction specialist
  • Representatives of oil and petrochemical refineries, utilities, pipelines, tank cleaning firms, and others interested in confined spaces and safe tank entry.

APGA Operations Conference
October 27-31, 2019
Huntsville Marriott at the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama

The APGA conference will be preceded by committee and board meetings to be held October 27-29. Who should attend: Natural gas utility operations and engineering professionals, gas utility procurement personnel, organizations providing products and/or services used in natural gas distribution, state and federal pipeline safety regulators.

Note: The conference provides 16 continuing education credits required by many states to maintain professional engineering licensure.

Pipeline Safety Trust Annual Conference
November 7-8, 2019
Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans, LA

Each year since 2006, the Pipeline Safety Trust has hosted pipeline safety conferences. What makes them unique among pipeline conferences is the mix of attendees, who come with experience as the affected public, the pipeline industry, and government regulators. All these people come together to discuss barriers to safer pipelines. Early Bird registration ends August 9th!

DOT Pipeline Compliance Workshop

September 24-26, 2019

Join us September 24-26, 2019 in Houston at our corporate office and dedicated training facility for an informative, lively, and interactive workshop on DOT Pipeline Compliance topics. The workshop provides an overview of the DOT pipeline regulations in 49 CFR 191, 192, 194, 195, 196, and 199. It also describes pipeline operations and engineering concepts. It is appropriate for people who are new to pipeline regulations, who could use a refresher, or anyone who needs to know the latest developments in these areas. This workshop will be a combined format, addressing both gas and liquid pipeline topics in parallel. This will eliminate some redundancy of materials, and will allow more time for in-depth discussions for each topic.

Topics to be addressed in the workshop include:

  • An overview of DOT/OPS pipeline compliance requirements
  • State and Federal agency roles for pipeline safety
  • PHMSA Jurisdiction
  • PHMSA Inspections and Enforcement Processes
  • Engineering Concepts and Stress/Strain Relationships; %SMYS
  • Design Requirements
  • Construction Requirements
  • Corrosion Control Concepts and Requirements
  • Operations and Maintenance Requirements
  • Emergency Response Requirements (including spill response planning requirements for liquid pipelines)
  • Damage Prevention Programs
  • Operator Qualification Programs
  • Drug and Alcohol Programs
  • Public Awareness Programs
  • Integrity Management (gas and liquid) Programs
  • Control Room Management Programs

We will also discuss the PIPES Act of 2016; recent Advisory Bulletins from PHMSA; and new, pending and proposed rulemakings.

Each attendee will receive the presentation as well as applicable handouts in a hardcopy notebook, and electronic copies of the applicable regulations and voluminous reference materials including rulemakings, letters of interpretation, and other guidance documents. The workshop will adjourn at 2 p.m. on the third day, for those who need to fly out Thursday evening.

To register for our workshop, click here.