DOT Pipeline Compliance News

March 2021 Issue

In This Issue

Gas Pipeline Regulatory Reform Final Rule, Delay of Effective Dates, Withdrawal of Enforcement Discretion

On March 5th, PHMSA published in the Federal Register a notice announcing a delay of the effective date of its Gas Pipeline Regulatory Reform final rule that was published in the Federal Register on January 11, 2021, (86 FR 2210) until March 21, 2021. RCP published a detailed summary of changes included in the Gas Pipeline Regulatory Reform Final Rule in our January newsletter. The final rule includes changes to reporting, standards incorporated by reference, farm tap treatment, corrosion monitoring, pressure vessel testing, plastic pipe, welding and pre-testing of certain pipelines.  

In conjunction with the delay of the effective date of the Gas Pipeline Regulatory Reform final rule, PHMSA is also delaying until March 21, 2021, its withdrawal of the March 26, 2019, “Exercise of Enforcement Discretion Regarding Farm Taps” and the unpublished October 27, 2015, letter to the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America announcing a stay of enforcement pertaining to certain pressure vessels.  The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the final rule is delayed to March 21, 2021.  The delays in the effective dates are a result of the January 20, 2021 “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review” memorandum from the Biden administration. 

Finally, PHMSA also published an amendment to its Gas Pipeline Regulatory Reform final rule that corrects the amendatory instructions to 49 CFR 192.281 and appendix B to part 192.  PHMSA also corrected the new regulatory text under §192.507(d) for pipelines that operate less than 30% SMYS and above 100psig to remove the word “hydrostatic” in reference to pressure testing of fabricated units and short sections of pipe where post-installation testing is impractical.  This correction is also effective March 21, 2021. 

If you would like a copy of this final rule and the corrections, contact Jessica Foley.

Proposed Pipeline Safety Rule Changes in Oklahoma

[CAUSE NO. RM 202100001; Number 165:20 – Gas & Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety]

The Transportation Division (“Division”) of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (“Commission”) recommends that the Commission amend the Gas & Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety rules that are set forth in the Oklahoma Administrative Code (“OAC”) 165:20. The proposed changes to OAC 165:20 are as follows:

  • OAC 165:20-1-4 is amended to correct subchapter references.
  • OAC 165:20-5-13(b) and (c), OAC 165:20-5-14(b) and (c), and 165:20-7-6 are stricken.
  • OAC 165:20-5-21, 165:20-5-41, 165:20-6-1, 165:20-7-1, 165:20-7-3, and 165:20-11-1 are amended to update statutory reference dates.
  • OAC 165:20-17-7 is amended to propose limits to the notice of excavation damage requirement for property damage that exceeds $5,000 in value.
  • OAC 165:20-17-8 is amended to clarify semiannual damage summary report requirements.

Upon the Commission’s adoption of the permanent rules proposed herein, the proposed rules shall be submitted to the Governor and the Oklahoma Legislature for approval as permanent rules. 

The Commission invites all interested persons to submit comments regarding the proposed changes to the Rules on or before March 12, 2021. To file the comments, please send them by email to or by mailing them to the Commission’s Oklahoma City Court Clerk at Post Office Box 52000, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73152-2000, referring to Cause No. RM 202100001. A file stamped copy of the comments should be sent via email to Michael P. Copeland at Filed comments will be made available for public inspection at no cost to the end user from the Commission’s imaging system at

Pursuant to 75 O.S. §§ 303 and 504, business entities are requested, if the proposed rules affect such entities, to provide to the Commission in writing, a description of the probable quantitative (costs) and qualitative impact of the proposed rules, economic or otherwise, using quantifiable data to the extent possible, taking into account both short-term and long-term consequences.

The Commission, in a public hearing, shall consider the adoption of the proposed permanent rules at 9:30 a.m. on March 18, 2021, in Courtroom 301, Third Floor, Jim Thorpe Office Building, 2101 North Lincoln Boulevard, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the public may participate and/or livestream the public hearing remotely.

Requests for further information and inquiries regarding this proposed rulemaking should be directed to Michael P. Copeland, Deputy General Counsel, by telephone at (405) 522-1638, email at or at Room 400, Jim Thorpe Office Building, 2101 North Lincoln Boulevard, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105, or Post Office Box 52000, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73152-2000.

PHMSA Releases Safety Research Announcement

PHMSA’s Research Announcement #693JK3211RA0001 closes on 4/19/2021 and is soliciting safety research in the following areas:

  • Threat Prevention
  • Underground Gas Storage
  • Liquefied Natural Gas
  • Materials

All of you Really Cool People can learn more about the safety research PHMSA is now soliciting by clicking here.

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


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