The Department of Transportation (DOT) publishes a Significant Rulemaking Report that reflects the revised dates for the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) rulemakings. There are indications that there will be major changes in 2015. A quick reference table for the pipeline safety regulations is provided below with a short description of each rulemaking after the table. The full report can be seen here: http://www.dot.gov/regulations/report-on-significant-rulemakings.
|PHMSA Rulemaking||Stage||Projected Publication Date|
|Excess Flow Valves||NPRM||January 20, 2015|
|Safety of On-shore Liquid Hazardous Pipelines||NPRM||February 3, 2015|
|Enforcement of State Excavation Damage Laws||Final Rule||April 14, 2015|
|Misc. Pipeline Amendments||Final Rule||April 23, 2015|
|Operator Qualification (RRR)||NPRM||April 23, 2015|
|Rupture Detection and Valves Rule||NPRM||May 14, 2015|
|Gas Transmission (RRR)||NPRM||June 10, 2015|
NPRM: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
RRR: Retrospective Regulatory Review
Excess Flow Valves
[Docket No. PHMSA-2011-0009]
This rulemaking would require excess flow valves (EFVs) be installed in all new and renewed gas service lines, for structures other than single family dwellings, when the operating conditions are compatible with readily available valves. These changes would be in response to NTSB and PHMSA investigations of current EFV installation practices. The intended effect of the rule is to increase the level of safety for structures other than single family dwellings currently subject to Federal pipeline safety regulation.
Safety of On-Shore Liquid Hazardous Pipelines
[Docket No. PHMSA-2010-0229]
This rulemaking would address effective procedures that hazardous liquid operators can use to improve the protection of High Consequence Areas (HCA) and other vulnerable areas along their hazardous liquid onshore pipelines. PHMSA is considering whether changes are needed to the regulations covering hazardous liquid onshore pipelines, whether other areas should be included as HCAs for integrity management (IM) protections, what the repair timeframes should be for areas outside the HCAs that are assessed as part of the IM program, whether leak detection standards are necessary, valve spacing requirements are needed on new construction or existing pipelines, and PHMSA should extend regulation to certain pipelines currently exempt from regulation. The agency would also address the public safety and environmental aspects any new requirements as well as the cost implications and regulatory burden.
Pipeline Safety: Excavation Damage Laws
[Docket No. PHMSA-2009-0192]
The PIPES Act provides PHMSA with the authority to enforce excavation damage laws in those states that have inadequate enforcement. This rulemaking would consider standards for excavators and operators to follow when conducting excavation in a vicinity of a pipeline and the administrative procedures to be used for enforcement proceedings.
Miscellaneous Pipeline Amendments
[Docket No. PHMSA-2010-0026]
This rulemaking would make minor changes to various provisions in the pipeline safety regulations to help clarify them by making editorial corrections, correcting inconsistent regulatory language and responding to several petitions for rulemaking, such as providing for an updated standard. The primary intended effect of this rule is to enhance the accuracy and reduce misunderstandings of the regulations. The amendments contained in this rule are non-substantive changes.
Operator Qualification, Cost Recovery, Accident and Incident Notification, and Other Changes (RRR)
[Docket No. (not assigned yet) / RIN 2137-AE94]
This rulemaking would address miscellaneous issues that have been raised because of the reauthorization of the pipeline safety program in 2012 and petitions for rulemaking from many affected stakeholders. Some of the issues that this rulemaking would address include: renewal process for special permits, cost recovery for design reviews, and incident reporting.
Amendments to Parts 192 and 195 to require Valve installation and Minimum Rupture Detection Standards
[Docket No. (not assigned yet) / RIN 2137-AF06]
This rule would propose installation of automatic shutoff valves, remote controlled valves, or equivalent technology and establish performance based meaningful metrics for rupture detection for gas and liquid transmission pipelines. The overall intent is that rupture detection metrics will be integrated with ASV and RCV placement with the objective of improving overall incident response. Rupture response metrics would focus on mitigating large, unsafe, uncontrolled release events that have a greater potential consequence. The areas proposed to be covered include High Consequence Areas (HCA) for hazardous liquids and HCA, Class 3 and 4 for natural gas (including could affect areas).
Gas Transmission (RRR)
[Docket No. PHMSA-2011-0023]
In this rulemaking, PHMSA will be revisiting the requirements in the Pipeline Safety Regulations addressing integrity management principles for Gas Transmission pipelines. In particular, PHMSA will address: repair criteria for both HCA and non-HCA areas, assessment methods, validating & integrating pipeline data, risk assessments, knowledge gained through the IM program, corrosion control, management of change, gathering lines, and safety features on launchers and receivers.