In This Issue

PHMSA Interim Final Rule on Enhanced Emergency Order Procedures

[DOCKET NO. PHMSA-2016-0091]

This new enforcement tool will allow the Administrator to issue an emergency order either prohibiting an unsafe condition or practice or imposing an affirmative requirement when an unsafe condition, practice or other activity in the transportation of natural gas or hazardous liquids poses a threat to life or significant harm to property or the environment.

The emergency order authority conferred by the PIPES Act is intended to serve as a flexible enforcement tool that can be used to address time-sensitive, safety conditions affecting multiple owners/operators, facilities, or systems that pose a threat to life or significant harm to property or the environment. Unlike a Corrective Action Order issued to a single operator, an emergency order would affect multiple or all operators and/or pipeline systems that share a common characteristic or condition.

A variety of circumstances could warrant such an action, including: (1) where a natural disaster affects many pipelines in a specific geographic region; (2) where a serious flaw has been discovered in pipe, equipment manufacturing, or supplier materials; and (3) where an accident reveals a specific industry practice that is unsafe and needs immediate or temporary correction.

The IFR is expected to be published in the Federal Register within a few days. It will be effective once published and there will be a 60 day comment period. If you would like a copy of the IFR, contact Jessica Foley, and a copy will be sent to you once it has been published in the Federal Register.