In This Issue

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 December 2023, PHMSA issued 7 NOAs, 8 NOPVs, and 7 WLs accompanied by $527,934 in proposed fines. Significant proposed fines were attributed to the following code sections: 

  • $225,134 49 CFR 192.605(a) Procedure Manual 
  • $20,400 49 CFR 40.25(a) Drug Testing 
  • $21,200 49 CFR 199.105(e) Drug Tests Required 
  • $65,900 49 CFR 195.452(f)(3) Integrity Management 
  • $35,300 49 CFR 192.355(b)(2) Customer Meters & Regulators 
  • $46,500 49 CFR 192.481(c) Atmospheric Corrosion Control 
  • $63,300 49 CFR 195.428(a) Overpressure Safety Devices 
  • $50,200 49 CFR 195.583(a) Atmospheric Corrosion Control 

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.