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 April 2023, PHMSA issued 5 NOAs, 7 NOPVs, and 6 WLs accompanied by $3,529,634 in proposed fines. Significant proposed fines were attributed to the following code sections:
- $58,400 – 49 CFR 195.573(a)(1) – External Corrosion Control
- $50,200 – 49 CFR 195.52(a) – NRC Notifications
- $225,134 – 49 CFR 195.401(a) – General Requirements
- $1,526,800 – 49 CFR 195.402(a) – Procedure Manual
- $1,279,100 – 49 CFR 195.446(a) – Control Room Management
- $50,200 – 49 CFR 195.446(b)(5) – Control Room Management
- $50,200 – 49 CFR 195.446(d)(3) – Control Room Management
- $81,900 – 49 CFR 195.446(h) – Control Room Management
- $126,200 – 49 CFR 195.505(b) – Operator Qualification
- $81,500 – 49 CFR 195.583(c) – Atmospheric Corrosion Control
- Pipeline operators may disagree in whole or in part with each proposed violation cited by PHMSA.
- Proposed Civil Penalties (PCP) may be reduced or eliminated before an enforcement action becomes final.
- A Corrective Action Order (CAO) usually addresses urgent situations arising out of an accident, spill, or other significant, immediate, or imminent safety or environmental concern.
- A Notice of Amendment (NOA) is frequently a result of a difference of opinion regarding written procedure requirements.
- 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.
- A Notice of Probable Violation (NOPV) is not proof that a violation actually occurred.
- A Proposed Compliance Order (PCO) frequently documents actions the pipeline operator already planned to do.
- 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.