In This Issue

“Significant” Pipeline Rule Updates

At the start of 2016, there are 4 “Significant” pipeline rulemakings currently underway at PHMSA. Under Executive Order 12866, Significant regulatory actions are defined as those that:

  • Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities;
  • Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency;
  • Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or
  • Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President’s priorities, or the principles set forth in this Executive order.

A short description of each rulemaking is provided below. DOT’s full Significant Rulemaking Report can be seen here.

Excess Flow Valves
[Docket No. PHMSA-2011-0009]
An NPRM was published 7/15/2015 that 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 are in response to NTSB and PHMSA investigations of current EFV installation practices. The comment period ended on 9/14/2015, and the rule is expected to be finalized by 1/17/2017.

Safety of On-Shore Liquid Hazardous Pipelines
[Docket No. PHMSA-2010-0229]
An NPRM was published on 10/13/2015 which addresses 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 proposed changes to the regulations covering hazardous liquid onshore pipelines, adding other areas as HCAs for integrity management (IM) protections, repair timeframes for areas outside the HCAs that are assessed as part of the IM program, leak detection standards, valve spacing requirements for new construction or existing pipelines, and extended regulation to certain pipelines currently exempt from regulation. The comment period ends 1/8/2016.

Amendments to Parts 192 and 195 to require Valve installation and Minimum Rupture Detection Standards
[Docket No. (not assigned yet) / RIN 2137-AF06]
An NPRM is being prepared for publication to address installation of automatic shutoff valves, remote controlled valves, or equivalent technology and to 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). The NPRM is expected to be published on 5/31/2016.

Gas Transmission
[Docket No. PHMSA-2011-0023]
An ANPRM (Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) was published on 8/25/2011. In this rulemaking, PHMSA plans to revisit 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, change management, gathering lines, and safety features on launchers and receivers. An NPRM is expected to be published on 1/11/2016.