DOT Pipeline Compliance News

October 2023 Issue

In This Issue

PHMSA Pipeline Safety R&D Public Meeting Oct 31 – Nov 1, 2023

[Docket No. PHMSA-2023-0056]

PHMSA announced the 2023 Pipeline Safety Research and Development Forum will be held October 31–November 1, 2023, at the Westin Crystal City, Reagan National Airport, 1800 Richmond Highway, Arlington, VA. PHMSA Pipeline Safety R&D Forum is held to generate a national research agenda that identifies technical challenges; foster solutions to improve pipeline safety and protect the environment; and provide a venue for information exchange among key stakeholders, including the public, states, tribal governments, other federal agencies, industry, and international colleagues.

Registration opens August 8, 2023, and will include a webcast option.  The event is open to the public. Registration and more details can be found on the PHMSA Meeting webpage.

New Hampshire Gas Pipeline Reporting Rule

Effective 8-4-2023, New Hampshire has enacted Chapter En 1400 – Rules for Pipeline Public Utilities, which requires operators of FERC-regulated gas pipelines to file information sheets and annual reports with the New Hampshire Department of Energy.

For a copy of the updated regulation, contact Jessica Foley.

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 August 2023, PHMSA issued 1 CAO, 0 NOAs, 1 NOPSO, 6 NOPVs, and 2 WLs accompanied by $575,900 in proposed fines. Significant proposed fines were attributed to the following code sections: 

  • $20,800 49 CFR 195.440(b) Public Awareness 
  • $75,500 49 CFR 195.452(d)(2) Integrity Management 
  • $56,600 49 CFR 195.452(j)(2) Integrity Management 
  • $21,200 49 CFR 195.583(a) Atmospheric Corrosion Control 
  • $172,600 49 CFR 195.412(a) ROW Inspections 
  • $78,500 49 CFR 191.22(c)(1)(i) National Registry 
  • $65,100 49 CFR 195.404(c)(3) Maps & Records 
  • $85,600 49 CFR 195.428(a) Overpressure Safety Devices 

Please note: 

  1. Pipeline operators may disagree in whole or in part with each proposed violation cited by PHMSA.  
  1. Proposed Civil Penalties (PCP) may be reduced or eliminated before an enforcement action becomes final. 
  1. A Corrective Action Order (CAO) usually addresses urgent situations arising out of an accident, spill, or other significant, immediate, or imminent safety or environmental concerns. 
  1. A Notice of Amendment (NOA) is frequently a result of a difference of opinion regarding written procedure requirements. 
  1. 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. 
  1. A Notice of Probable Violation (NOPV) is not proof that a violation actually occurred. 
  1. Proposed Compliance Orders (PCO) frequently document actions the pipeline operator already planned to do. 
  1. 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.

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:  As far as the New Valve Rule goes, it does not apply to poly distribution, correct?

A: The New Valve Rule doesn’t apply to any type of gas distribution, including poly lines.  It applies to gas transmission and to Hazardous Liquid / CO2 Transmission lines.  As a result of the DC Circuit Court vacating other portions of the rule, it is no longer applicable to gas or hazardous liquids gathering pipelines. 

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:

  • The deadline to submit written comments in response to PHMSA’s forthcoming NPRM on Pipeline Safety: Safety of Gas Distribution Pipeline and Other Pipeline Safety Initiatives will have 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.  Comments may be filed at Docket No. PHMSA-2021-0046.
  • And as a reminder, the “Stay of Enforcement” does not mean regulators don’t expect work toward getting compliance activities in place can be ignored.

If we can help, contact Jessica Foley.

Did you know?

Need for sound policy – The need for sound energy policy has never been more critical. A modern U.S. infrastructure system, including robust pipeline infrastructure, is crucial to providing a reliable energy supply to every community in America. Our own resources can spur community growth and security, and we can develop American energy while protecting the environment. 

Importance of reauthorization – As our industry continues to advance a lower carbon future, it is imperative that the regulatory environment and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) are responsive to both current and potential future safety challenges faced by operators. 

API legislative priorities – API is urging Congress to enact policies that capitalize on the power of American natural gas and oil during its consideration the reauthorization of PHMSA and other safety programs.


Pipeline Pigging & Integrity Management Conference
February 12-16, 2024 | George R. Brown Convention Center | Houston, TX 

The Pipeline Pigging and Integrity Management Conference (PPIM) in Houston, Texas, serves as a pivotal gathering for professionals in the pipeline industry. This annual event brings together experts, engineers, and industry leaders to discuss the latest advancements and best practices in pipeline integrity, maintenance, and inspection. Attendees can expect insightful presentations, interactive discussions, and access to cutting-edge technologies aimed at ensuring the safe and efficient operation of pipelines. PPIM in Houston serves as a hub for networking, knowledge exchange, and collaboration, playing a crucial role in shaping the future of pipeline integrity management.

Click here to register to attend PPIM.

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


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