PHMSA responded to a Petition for Reconsideration and a Motion to Stay of Final Rule, “Safety of Gas Gathering Pipelines: Extension of Reporting Requirements, Regulation of Large, High-Pressure Lines, and Other Related Amendments.” The Petition and Motion were filed by the American Petroleum Institute and the GPA Midstream Association. The Petition asserted that PHMSA’s adoption of the Final Rule failed to comply with procedural requirements under the Pipeline Safety Act, as amended, (49 U.S.C. 60101 et seq.) and the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 551 et seq.,) by failing to adequately evaluate the costs and benefits of the Final Rule and by failing to respond to Petitioners’ comments regarding the costs and benefits of the Final Rule. The Petition also asserts that PHMSA failed to conduct an adequate assessment the impact of the Final Rule on small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). In addition, the Petition requested that PHMSA adopt revisions to certain provisions of the Final Rule. The Motion seeks a stay of certain provisions of the Final Rule, asserting that Petitioners’ members will suffer irreparable harm unless PHMSA grants a stay of certain elements of the Final Rule pertaining to Type C gathering lines.
PHMSA largely denied the Petition, but did acknowledge that the Petitioners raise concerns regarding certain language in the Final Rule that would benefit from clarification. PHMSA intends to issue a Federal Register notice that will address three issues described below.
- Codify in regulation that Type C gas gathering lines that are not otherwise required to establish a MAOP under 49 CFR 192.9(e)(2)(ii) and 192.619 do not have to submit safety related condition reports pursuant to § 191.23. This reporting exemption will apply to Type C gathering lines with outside diameters less than or equal to 12 inches and Type C lines 16 inches and smaller that do not impact a Building Intended for Human Occupancy or Other Impacted Site using the Potential Impact Radius (Method 1) or Class Location Unit (Method 2) methods.
- Petitioners request PHMSA revise the Final Rule to codify in regulation that operators may use the default yield strength of 24,000 psi as depicted under § 192.107(b)(2) when calculating the SMYS of a gathering line for the purpose of determining whether it is a Type C gathering line. PHMSA acknowledged that this is acceptable, but denied the request to amend code language stating that the rules already allow for use of the default yield strength value.
- PHMSA will not enforce the 10-mile threshold within the Final Rule’s revised definition of “incidental gathering” in connection with projects replacing, repairing, or changing those lines existing on May 16, 2022 that are currently designated as “incidental gathering” lines. PHMSA will memorialize that enforcement discretion in a forthcoming Federal Register notice, will communicate that notice to state pipeline safety agencies, and will consider whether further revisions to the regulatory definition of “incidental gathering” is appropriate.
For more information about the gathering rule or what RCP can do to help with meeting the implementation deadlines, contact Jessica Foley.