DOT Pipeline Compliance News

February 2003 Issue

In This Issue

Editor’s Federal Register Trivia of the Month

The EPA is proposing to issue a permit to allow ice to melt in the sea. You read it here first. Somebody should call Fox news.

Issuance of a General Permit to the National Science Foundation for the Ocean Disposal of Man-Made Ice Piers From its Base at McMurdo Sound on Antarctica

EPA is today proposing to issue a general permit under sections 102(a) and 104(c) of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) to the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the disposal at sea of man-made ice piers from its base at McMurdo Sound on Antarctica. The NSF is the agency of the United States Government responsible for oversight of the United States Antarctic Program. The NSF currently operates three major bases in Antarctica: McMurdo Station on Ross Island, adjacent to McMurdo Sound; Palmer Station, near the western terminus of the Antarctic Peninsula; and Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, at the geographic South Pole. McMurdo Station is the largest of the three stations, and serves as the primary logistics base for Antarctica. In order to unload supplies at McMurdo Station, ships dock at an ice pier at McMurdo Station; this man-made pier has a normal life span of three to five years. At the end of its useful life, all transportable equipment, materials, and debris are removed, the pier is cast loose from its moorings at the base and towed out to McMurdo Sound for disposal, where it melts naturally. Issuance of this general permit is necessary because the pier must be towed out to sea for disposal at the end of its useful life. This proposed general permit is intended to protect the marine environment by setting forth specific permit terms and conditions, including operating conditions during use of the pier and clean-up, with which the NSF must comply before the disposal of such ice piers would take place.

What next? Air permits for breathing?

RSPA Results Winter 2002 – 2003 Edition

The latest edition of RSPA’s newsletter, “RSPA Results”, has recently been published and can be downloaded from RCP’s website at here through the DOT Gateway.

This newsletter has several articles of interest to pipeline operators, including the new pipeline safety act, TAPS renewal, the newly proposed Gas Pipeline Integrity Management rule, and grants to firefighters concerning pipeline safety.

O&M Manual Up-To-Date?

RCP has the tools and expertise to develop comprehensive procedures that you need to protect your people, facilities, and environment. Click Here

SPCC Plan Deadline Extensions

On January 9, 2003, the EPA published an Interim Final Rule to extend the current SPCC deadlines by 60 days, and a Proposed Rule to extend the current SPCC deadlines by 1-year. The proposed 1-year extension is from the date of the ORIGINAL rule deadlines, not from the date of the 60-day extended deadlines. The 60 day extension will help EPA avoid the flood of individual extension requests it has become apparent they will otherwise receive from regulated facilities, and will allow for adequate consideration of comments EPA expects to receive on the proposed one-year extension of the dates. During the period of this sixty-day extension, it will not be necessary for a facility owner or operator to file an extension request pursuant to § 112.3(f). Furthermore, for facilities that have already applied for an extension pursuant to § 112.3(f), the interim final rule should render such requests moot.

The EPA is proposing to extend, for one year, the dates in 40 CFR 112.3(a) and (b) for a facility to amend its Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan and implement the amended Plan (or, in the case of facilities becoming operational after August 16, 2002, prepare and implement a Plan that complies with the newly amended requirements). During the period of the proposed extension, if it is finalized, it will not be necessary for a facility owner or operator to file an extension request pursuant to § 112.3(f). Furthermore, for facilities that have already applied for an extension pursuant to § 112.3(f), if this extension is finalized, it should render such requests moot.

The EPA will address all public comments in a final rule based on the proposed rule. Any parties interested in commenting should do so at this time. Written comments must be received by January 29, 2003. The docket number for the proposed rule is OPA-2002-001.

Both the Interim Final Rule and the Proposed Rule can be downloaded from RCP’s website at here through the SPCC Gateway.

EPA SPCC Rule Corrections

The EPA recently published some minor amendments to their new SPCC regulations. In Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 100 to 135, revised as of July 1, 2002, Appendix F to part 112 is corrected as follows:

  1. In section 1.0 paragraph B, by adding the words ”required by” before 40 CFR 112.3;
  2. In section 1.8.3 by revising ” 267- 4085-4065” to read ”(202) 267-4085”;and
  3. In Attachment F-1, add footnote 1 to read: Attachment F-1-Response Plan Cover Sheet

Dun & Bradstreet number: 1

1 These numbers may be obtained from public library resources.

RCP Develops Fantastic Version of New SPCC Regulation

RCP has developed a 1-page version (in tiny type) of the new SPCC regulations, as revised January 9, 2003. It is great for people such as your newsletter editor, who can remember where something is on a page much better than they can remember a regulatory citation number. (I admit – it is size 8 type, printed 2-sided on 11″x17″ paper… but it all fits on one page!) It can be folded to fit in a shirt pocket, and is color-coded to indicate what types of deviations are available for each requirement in the regulation. Plus, it is cool! If you would like a copy, please contact our VP of Business Development at, and we’ll be glad to send you one.

DOT Pipeline Compliance Workshop – March 19-20, 2003 – Houston Includes update on the new Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 signed into law on Dec 17, 2002

RCP will conduct a 2-day workshop on DOT Pipeline Regulations on March 19th and 20th in Houston. Day 1 of this workshop will present an overview of all the current DOT regulations for pipeline operators. Day 2 will review recent regulatory initiatives such as pipeline integrity management, hazardous liquid corrosion control requirements, high consequence area (HCA) analysis and operator qualification. Day 2 will also include a review of the new Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002, which includes several important self-implementing requirements that will affect pipeline operators. This workshop is suitable for personnel who need a general introduction to DOT pipeline regulatory requirements, or who need an update on recent and proposed DOT Pipeline regulatory initiatives. We have conducted this type of seminar several times, and have received excellent feedback each time. We expect this workshop to fill up rapidly. Early registration and group discounts are available. Additional information is available on our website here.

Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Clean Water Act Regulatory Definition of “Waters of the United States”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) in order to obtain early comment on issues associated with the scope of waters that are subject to the Clean Water Act (CWA), in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 531 U.S. 159 (2001) (SWANCC). The ANPRM requests public input on issues associated with the definition of “waters of the United States” and also solicits information or data from the general public, the scientific community, and Federal and State resource agencies on the implications of the SWANCC decision for jurisdictional decisions under the CWA. The goal of the agencies is to develop proposed regulations that will further the public interest by clarifying what waters are subject to CWA jurisdiction and affording full protection to these waters through an appropriate focus of Federal and State resources consistent with the CWA. The input received from the public in response to this ANPRM will be used by the agencies to determine the issues to be addressed and the substantive approach for a future proposed rulemaking addressing the scope of CWA jurisdiction.

In order to be considered, comments or information in response to this ANPRM must be postmarked or e-mailed on or before March 3, 2003. Comments may be submitted electronically, by mail, or through hand delivery/courier. Mail comments to: Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode 4101T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460, Attention Docket ID No. OW-2002-0050. For information on the ANPRM, contact either Donna Downing, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds (4502T), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, DC 20460, phone: (202) 566-1366, e-mail:, or Ted Rugiel, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ATTN CECW-OR, 441 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20314-1000, phone: (202) 761-4595, e-mail: Thaddeus.J.Rugiel@HQ02.USACE.ARMY.MIL.

Pending this rulemaking, should questions arise, the regulated community should seek assistance from the Corps and EPA, in accordance with the joint memorandum attached as Appendix A to the NPRM. The NPRM (including Appendix A) can be downloaded from RCP’s website at here through the SPCC Gateway.

Editor’s comment: This is truly a “watershed” ANPRM. The issue at stake goes to the heart of the scope of the Clean Water Act, and the regulations promulgated under the CWA. Previous definitions of “waters of the United States” were written in the broadest possible terms, to incorporate virtually any water (or potential water) that could in any conceivable way be used in interstate commerce (can a duck cross state lines, and land in the pond? can someone from out of state swim in the pond? etc.). The SWANCC supreme court case explicitly ruled out some of these very broad interpretations, and has thrown several similar interpretations into doubt. Other federal court rulings have been contradictory concerning some interpretations. Appendix A to the ANPRM gives a thorough analysis of the recent cases and their implications, and warrants a very close reading by anyone with regulatory responsibility under CWA programs. RCP would be glad to assist in the analysis of these issues for your specific situation.

Air Permit Needs?

Are you planning to expand or acquire? Air permit applications can be complex and consuming. RCP has the expertise to navigate through the application process, develop compliance assurance systems, and submit reports. Click Here

API Operator Workshop on IMP Implementation

API is conducting its fifth integrity management workshop in Houston from 8 am February 18 to noon February 19, 2003. This workshop will focus on implementation and comprehensive integrity audits under the OPS protocols. The workshop is open to pipeline operators only. The fee is $150. To learn more, contact Marty Matheson at (202) 682-8192.

Updates of Digital Mapping Data for Hazardous Liquid Pipeline High Consequence Areas (HCA)

OPS has updated and revised the High Consequence Area (HCA) digital mapping datasets. Updated digital mapping data to delineate high consequence areas for use in geographic information systems is now available for high population areas, other populated areas, and commercially navigable waterways. Population information updates are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s TIGER 2000 datasets. Updates for commercially navigable waterways are based on the 2002 version of the National Waterways Network as provided by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The digital mapping datasets for Ecological and Drinking Water Unusually Sensitive Areas (USA) are not being updated at this time. All updated data is available for download from the NPMS Web site at Operators have one year from January 22, 2003, to incorporate these new high consequence areas into their baseline integrity management assessment plans. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sam Hall, (202) 493-0591; or by e-mail, Steve Fischer, (202) 366-6267; or by e-mail,

Editor’s shameless commerce statement: If you don’t already have digital maps of your pipeline systems and the relevant HCAs, we would be glad to assist you in that effort. We use ArcView for pipeline and HCA mapping, and will be glad to turn over the digital files for your personnel to use upon project completion.

New Louisiana Intra-state Rules for Hazardous Liquid Pipelines

The State of Louisiana recently published their latest rules for intrastate hazardous liquid pipelines. Louisiana has authority to regulate intrastate gas and liquid pipelines, and publishes their entire regulations under their own regulatory system (as opposed to some other states that just incorporate the federal rules by reference, and then publish their state-specific changes). Affected parties should note that Louisiana did NOT incorporate the risk-based alternatives for pressure testing older hazardous liquid pipelines into their latest regulations.

For a copy of the latest Louisiana hazardous liquid pipeline regulations, please contact Mr. Dan Shelledy at

For a thorough review of state versus federal pipeline safety jurisdiction (along with a lot of other useful information), attend Day 1 of our upcoming workshop on pipeline regulations as mentioned elsewhere in this newsletter.

New Federal Website for Comments on Rulemakings is a new U.S. Government web site that makes it easier for members of the public to participate in Federal rulemaking. On this site, you can find, review, and submit comments on Federal documents that are open for comment and published in the Federal Register, the Government’s legal newspaper.

Editor’s Note: This site does not contain all open rulemakings – only those that are currently open for comment. It also doesn’t contain final rulemakings.

Interested in Web-Based Compliance Management Systems?

RCP has the latest technology to help manage all of your permits, inspections, procedures, and data requirements and neatly organize them into one overall compliance assurance system. This includes regulatory tasking, data management, and exception reporting. Because it is web-based, there are no IT issues to struggle through to get started. An institutional memory is created of the compliance history and ongoing compliance requirements, despite operator or personnel turnover.  Click Here

Texas GLO Oil Spill Information Transfer Meeting

The Texas General Land Office will conduct the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program’s eleventh annual Information Transfer Meeting (ITM), slated for February 21st , at 9 a.m. in room 1003 of the Natural Resources Center at Texas A&M; University – Corpus Christi. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. Program staff will provide information regarding the newest edition of the CD ROM Toolkit, recently revised administrative rules, a regional office update and a progress report on Bilge Reclamation Facilities. Presentations by Tony Alejandro with the Port of Corpus Christi and U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port Bill Wagner are also on the agenda. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson is scheduled for this year’s ITM. Commissioner Patterson will discuss current legislative issues and take questions from the audience.

The meeting announcement, with registration information, is available on RCP’s website here through the SPCC Gateway.

Acquiring a pipeline?

RCP can provide due diligence audits to help you ensure that potential compliance issues have been addressed before the sale is final. Click Here.

Emergency Reconstruction of Interstate Natural Gas Facilities Under the Natural Gas Act

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) is proposing to amend part 157, subpart F, of its regulations to enable natural gas interstate pipeline companies to replace mainline facilities using a route other than the existing right-of-way, and to commence construction without being subject to the 45-day prior notice proceedings specified in § 157.205 of the Commission’s regulations and without project cost constraints, when immediate action is required to restore service in an emergency due to a sudden unanticipated loss of natural gas or capacity in order to prevent loss of life, impairment of health, or damage to property. In addition, the Commission is proposing to revise reporting requirements so that a natural gas company, acting under part 157 in responding to an emergency, would submit a description of its activities to the Commission prospectively, in advance of commencing construction, rather than retrospectively, as is currently the case. An important objective of the proposed rule is the reconciliation of the Commission’s regulatory responsibilities under its enabling statutes and federal environmental and safety laws with the need to protect persons and property.

The Commission requests that comments address the adequacy of the proposed expansion of pipeline companies’ authority under their part 157 blanket certificates in situations where immediate action is necessary to reconstruct interstate pipeline facilities that have been destroyed or compromised by a sudden unanticipated natural event or deliberate effort to disrupt the flow of natural gas or whether there is a need for further action by the Commission or Congress. Comments are due February 27, 2003 to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Christin, Office of the General Counsel, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-6022.

The full text of the proposed rule can be downloaded from RCP’s website here through the DOT Gateway.

Notice of proposed rulemaking: Pipeline Integrity Management in High Consequence Areas (Gas Transmission Pipelines)

The Research and Special Programs Administration / Office of Pipeline Safety (RSPA/OPS) proposes to establish a rule to require operators to develop integrity management programs for gas transmission pipelines that, in the event of a failure, could impact high consequence areas (HCAs). These integrity management programs would focus on requiring operators to comprehensively evaluate their pipelines, and take measures to protect pipeline segments located in high consequence areas. RSPA/OPS recently finalized the definition of high consequence areas by a separate rulemaking. This proposed rule proposes to expand the definition of HCAs by adding consideration of people living at distances greater than 660 feet from large diameter high-pressure pipelines. The current HCA definition only requires consideration of people living at distances up to 660 feet from pipelines.

RSPA/OPS believes it can best assure pipeline integrity by requiring each operator to: (a) Implement a comprehensive integrity management program; (b) conduct a baseline assessment and periodic reassessments focused on identifying and characterizing applicable threats; (c) mitigate significant defects discovered in this process; and (d) monitor the effectiveness of their programs so appropriate modifications can be recognized and implemented. This approach also recognizes that improving integrity requires operators to gather and evaluate data on the performance trends resulting from their programs, and to make improvements and corrections based on this evaluation. This proposed rule does not apply to gas gathering or to gas distribution lines. This proposed rule will satisfy Congressional mandates for RSPA/OPS to prescribe standards that establish criteria for identifying each gas pipeline facility located in a high-density population area and to prescribe standards requiring the periodic inspection of pipelines located in these areas, including the circumstances under which an inspection can be conducted using an instrumented internal inspection device (smart pig) or an equally effective alternative inspection method. The proposed rule also incorporates the required elements for gas integrity management programs recently mandated in the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002, which was signed into law on December 17, 2002.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Israni by phone at (202) 366-4571, by fax at (202) 366-4566, or by e-mail at, regarding the subject matter of this proposed rule. Interested persons are invited to submit written comments by March 31, 2003 (docket 7666). Late-filed comments will be considered to the extent practicable.

The entire proposed rule with preamble can be downloaded from RCP’s website here through the Pipeline Integrity Management Gateway.

NPMS Advisory Bulletin (ADB-03-02)

The Office of Pipeline Safety recently issued the following advisory bulletin concerning submittals to the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS). The entire notice is available on RCP’s website at here through the DOT Gateway.

To: Owners and Operators of Natural Gas Transmission and Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Systems.

Subject: Required Submission of Data to the National Pipeline Mapping System Under the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002.

Purpose: To advise pipeline operators of their responsibilities in complying with the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002. This bulletin describes the process for making new submissions of geospatial and operator contact information and updating previous submissions to the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS).

Advisory: Subsection (a): Submit geospatial and contact information in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the NPMS standards document entitled “National Pipeline Mapping System Standards for Pipeline and Liquefied Natural Gas Operator Submissions’ dated 2003. The operators standards document is available for download from the NPMS website at

Subsection (a)(1): If a complete data submission was made to the NPMS prior to December 17, 2001, and any pipeline system modifications have occurred since the last submission, submit complete data to the NPMS by June 17, 2003. If a complete data submission was made to the NPMS prior to December 17, 2001, and no pipeline system modifications have occurred, send an email to stating that fact. If a complete data submission was made to the NPMS on or after December 17, 2001, and if pipeline system modifications representing more than 5% of the total system mileage to be submitted to the NPMS have occurred, submit new complete data by June 17, 2003. If changes to the data submitted on or after December 17, 2001, affect less than 5% of the total system mileage submitted to the NPMS, submit an email to stating that fact by June 17, 2003. If only a partial data submission was made to the NPMS, before or after December 17, 2001, submit complete data to the NPMS by June 17, 2003. For LNG facilities, if any modifications since the last submission have occurred, submit new complete data by June 17, 2003.

Subsection (a)(2): Regardless of prior geospatial submissions to the NPMS, submit contact information for the pipelines represented in geospatial data submitted to the NPMS. The format for submitting this contact information is available in the NPMS operator standards document. This contact information will be in the public domain.

Subsection (a)(3): OPS is developing an Internet-based tool that will allow the public to identify pipeline operators within a specific geographic area. The information provided to the NPMS under subsection (a)(2) will allow the public to contact pipeline operators with questions regarding their pipelines. The Internet-based tool will display a list of operator contacts, within the geographic area specified by the user, but will not render a map of the pipelines.

Subsection (b): Once a submission is made to comply with the June 17, 2003, statutory deadline, operators are required to make update submissions every 12 months if any system modifications have occurred. If no modifications have occurred since the last complete submission (including operator contact information), send an email to stating that fact. Include operator contact information with all updates.

National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) Breakout Tank Submissions

The Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) is now accepting voluntary data submissions for “breakout” tanks under OPS jurisdiction, to the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS). OPS has developed two procedures for the submission of the data. They include an online form and a downloadable executable file that can be used to input the tank data. The operator can choose either option for the submission of their data. The applicable website is located at:

The “Tank Attribute Table” is similar to the NPMS tables used in the collection of pipeline and LNG data. Eventually, the NPMS standards will be updated to reflect the requirements for the submission of tank farm data. Operators who maintain one breakout tank will submit the geographical location and attributes for the single tank. If an operator maintains multiple tanks at a given location, the submission will include a geographical location representing the approximate center of the tank farm and attributes for each breakout tank operated at the facility. Data input into either the Internet form or the executable file will conform to the database field types and definitions that are outlined in the “Tank Attribute Table”. Operators will be required to provide answers to all questions in order for their submission to be complete.

All program related questions should be directed to Steve Fischer with the Office of Pipeline Safety at 202-366-6267 or Technical questions regarding the use of the online form or the executable file should be directed to Ron Buzzard at 703-317-6205 or

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