DOT Pipeline Compliance News

June 2023 Issue

In This Issue

NPMS New Dataset Released May 2023

The National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) and PHMSA have released new HIGH Population and OTHER Populated areas as a new dataset based on the 2020 census data. Click on Version: 5 (Derived from 2020 Census) for more information and link to Download.

Click here to register for our free webinar:
“Unpacking the New NPMS Attribute Standards and Revisions”
hosted by RCP’s Senior GIS Analyst Mr. Derek Wallace.

Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Regulation Update for “Pipelines Transporting Carbon Dioxide”

On June 1, 2023, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (La DNR) published new regulations updating Title 33 Part V (LR 49:909 (May 2023)) pertaining to pipelines that transport carbon dioxide. These updates included adding Section 93 to Chapter 301 with additional requirements for these pipelines, including items for vents, sensing devices, fail-safe control, and sources of power. In addition, §30125 was updated to expand the definition for these pipelines to include:

  • Any potential dangers to human beings and/or animals from the escaped material.
  • Bodily harm to any person resulting in one or more of the following:
    • Loss of consciousness.
    • Necessity to carry a person from the scene.
    • Necessity for medical treatment.
    • Disability which prevents the discharge of normal duties or the pursuit of normal duties beyond the day of the accident.

§30167 was expanded to go beyond the requirements found in 49 CFR 195.111 to require piping systems to be analyzed for potential propagating fractures, and methods of limiting the extent of such fractures to be applied where warranted.

Chapter 302 now requires the location of each weighted pipe or other item connected to the pipe in pipelines carrying carbon dioxide be maintained as a construction record under §30266. This is above the requirements for records to be maintained in 49 CFR 195.266. In addition, Chapter 303 was updated to require these pipelines to be hydrostatically tested without leakage.

Lastly, Subpart 4 of Title 43 Part XI was updated with numerous changes including:

  • Requiring geologic sequestration projects to receive an order from the commissioner authorizing operations.
  • Updating the scope of the regulations to include carbon dioxide transported in a gaseous or non-supercritical state within the jurisdiction of Louisiana.
  • Revising the applicability of Chapters 39-49 to include an operator’s secondary or tertiary recovery project or geologic sequestration project and geologic sequestration project.
  • Updating the definition of “Line Section” in §3905.
  • Updating the requirements for reporting accidents on carbon dioxide pipelines in Chapter 43.
  • Updating the construction requirements for carbon dioxide pipelines found in Chapter 45.
  • Removing requirements for security and smoking or open flames in Chapter 49 while expanding requirements for public education on pipelines that carry carbon dioxide.

Texas Railroad Commission’s New Construction Reports Online Filing Mandatory September 1st

Effective September 1, 2023, the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) will no longer accept hard copy filings of Form PS-48, New Construction Report, by mail. Pipeline operators must submit New Construction Reports using RRC’s Pipeline, Inspection, Permitting and Evaluation System (RRC PIPES) available on the RRC website. Likewise, correspondence from RRC to pipeline operators on New Construction Report status will no longer be sent by mail. All RRC correspondence will be sent by email.

If you have any questions regarding this notice, please contact RRC’s Pipeline Safety Department at or 512-463-7058. To view the full notice, click here.

DOT Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance

On June 1, 2023, the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance posted its updated Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) guidelines. The document has been updated regarding certain provisions addressed in the Department of Transportation (DOT) final rule published on May 2, 2023. A listing of the updates to the SAP guidelines can be found on the last page of the document. The document can be found at

Did you know?

DID YOU KNOW? Natural gas and oil delivers growing economic contributions to America that were nearly equivalent to Canada’s annual GDP last year. From Pennsylvania to California, America’s natural gas and oil workforce is the backbone of communities, supporting nearly 11 million careers throughout the energy supply chain. The American Petroleum Institute (API) released new analysis on the growing economic contributions of America’s natural gas and oil industry in all 50 states, including investment in America ranging from taxes and workforce wages paid to indirect and induced jobs in retail, manufacturing, agriculture and other sectors throughout the energy supply chain. The study, commissioned by API and prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), showed that the industry supported 10.8 million jobs and contributed nearly $1.8 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2021. Learn more here.

The Enforcement Corner

The Enforcement Corner summarizes recent PHMSA enforcement actions, indicating where PHMSA is putting its enforcement efforts and the fines they are proposing for various types of violations.

In April 2023, PHMSA issued 5 NOAs, 7 NOPVs, and 6 WLs accompanied by $3,529,634 in proposed fines. Significant proposed fines were attributed to the following code sections:

  • $58,400 – 49 CFR 195.573(a)(1) – External Corrosion Control
  • $50,200 – 49 CFR 195.52(a) – NRC Notifications
  • $225,134 – 49 CFR 195.401(a) – General Requirements
  • $1,526,800 – 49 CFR 195.402(a) – Procedure Manual
  • $1,279,100 – 49 CFR 195.446(a) – Control Room Management
  • $50,200 – 49 CFR 195.446(b)(5) – Control Room Management
  • $50,200 – 49 CFR 195.446(d)(3) – Control Room Management
  • $81,900 – 49 CFR 195.446(h) – Control Room Management
  • $126,200 – 49 CFR 195.505(b) – Operator Qualification
  • $81,500 – 49 CFR 195.583(c) – Atmospheric Corrosion Control

Please note:

  1. Pipeline operators may disagree in whole or in part with each proposed violation cited by PHMSA. 
  2. Proposed Civil Penalties (PCP) may be reduced or eliminated before an enforcement action becomes final.
  3. A Corrective Action Order (CAO) usually addresses urgent situations arising out of an accident, spill, or other significant, immediate, or imminent safety or environmental concern.
  4. A Notice of Amendment (NOA) is frequently a result of a difference of opinion regarding written procedure requirements.
  5. A Notice of Proposed Safety Order (NOPSO) addresses pipeline integrity risks that may not constitute a hazardous facility requiring immediate corrective action (see Corrective Action Order described above),but do need to be addressed over time.
  6. A Notice of Probable Violation (NOPV) is not proof that a violation actually occurred.
  7. A Proposed Compliance Order (PCO) frequently documents actions the pipeline operator already planned to do.
  8. Warning Letter (WL) is an official notice by PHMSA that an operator needs to make improvements but that no further enforcement is proposed for those findings at this time.

RCP maintains a detailed database of all PHMSA enforcement actions dating back to 2007 and is routinely asked for data analysis of various enforcement actions. For more information on how RCP can assist with enforcement action data analysis services, contact Jessica Foley.

Need to respond to a PHMSA enforcement action?
Need to know if your enforcement action is an outlier, or par for the course? 

RCP maintains a detailed database of all PHMSA enforcement actions and their resolution which enables us to compare and contrast individual enforcement actions to nationwide actions and trends.  We can help put things into context to ensure an effective reply for each citation.  For more information on how RCP can assist with enforcement action data analysis services, contact Jessica Foley.

Enforcement Discretion Summary

To assist those who struggle to keep up with the rules as they change, and whose minds are quickly blown by double and triple negatives, below is a handy summary for our readers of the currently available “discretionary enforcement” items from PHMSA:

1. December 6, 2022

PHMSA issued a discretionary enforcement on December 6, 2022, for the final rule published August 24, 2022, in 87 FR 52224 for nine additional months from May 24, 2023, to February 24, 2024, subject to the exceptions below. The delay of enforcement covers operators of existing onshore gas transmission pipelines already in-service as of August 24, 2022. PHMSA will issue guidance to aid these operators in their compliance with the Final Rule during the 9-month enforcement delay. PHMSA will enforce provisions in §192.917(b) and §192.13(d) and all Final Rule provisions for pipelines that were new or replaced after August 24, 2022.

2. April 17, 2023

The previous enforcement discretion (Dec. 6, 2022) now includes pipelines that entered into service between August 24, 2022 (including new construction or replacement projects on existing lines) and the end of the discretionary timeframe of February 24, 2024. PHMSA will also not enforce updated O&M manuals to account for those provisions that do not otherwise require operator action before that time. PHMSA will enforce provisions in §192.917(b) and §192.13(d). Compliance is also required for §§192.319, 192.461, and 192.613 which provide important corrosion control requirements to take during construction and processes following an extreme weather event or natural disaster.

3. April 20, 2023

The following enforcement discretion is for pipeline operators who, despite their efforts, are having issues completing remedial actions for §192.473(c)(4) within the 15-month compliance period. PHMSA will refrain from enforcement actions resulting from delays with remediation provided the operator has notified PHMSA prior to the deadline passing who has made timely applications with diligent pursuit if any of the following are true:

  1. Permits have been delayed,
  2. Access to rights-of-way have not been granted; or,
  3. Subsequent survey findings require further remediation.

Operators will have to complete the remediations as soon as possible, but not to exceed 6 months from the receipt of any such delayed permits or access rights. The discretion of enforcement will last until the future rulemaking is complete.

Q&A Section

Do you have questions? RCP’s SMEs have the answers. Information will be posted here for questions we often get from clients or discussions we have with regulators, interpretations and pending regulatory deadlines.

Q:  When discovering an immediate repair anomaly do I have to take a pressure reduction if I am operating below the calculated safe pressure per RSTRENG to take 20% pressure reduction in operating pressure and is this considered a safety-related condition? 

A:  Yes. The pressure reduction is still required by 20% of highest pressure within the previous 60 days and a Safety Related Condition (SRC) report is required within 5 days of determining the reduction.

Ask the Experts

Do you have a question for the experts at RCP?  Submit your question using this form. If your question is selected for a future newsletter, you will be eligible for a gift of your choice from RCP’s online store.

Upcoming Deadlines:

  • April 10, 2023, the Valve Rule is now fully in effect and requires all new and entirely replaced gas transmission and liquids pipelines subject to PHMSA’s new RMV rule to comply from that point forward unless alternative technologies are approved by PHMSA for a particular instance. The new RMVs will have to be operational within 14 days of placing the new line or replacement segment in service.
  • The onshore gas gathering rule was published April 8, 2022. Portions became effective May 16, 2022 – Reporting of Incidents for the new Type C & R.
  • Full identification by Type and Class location was to be completed by November 16, 2022
  • For the newly identified Type C that must have the MAOP established, the deadline for boosting system pressure to take advantage of “highest actual operating pressure” as permitted by 192.619(a)(3) is coming fast – May 16, 2023
  • And as a reminder, the “Stay of Enforcement” does not mean regulators don’t expect work toward getting compliance activities in place or that the rule can be ignored.

If we can help, contact Jessica Foley.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss our services with you.


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