On March 26, 2013, a coalition of environmental groups and private citizen landowners, headed by the National Wildlife Federation and the Sierra Club, filed a petition with PHMSA and the USEPA seeking new regulation of pipelines transporting diluted bitumen (dilbit).  The petition, brought under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), Pipeline Safety Act (PSA), Clean Water Act, and the Oil Pollution Act, asks the agencies to: (1) place a moratorium on proposals for new and expanded dilbit pipelines until new rules more specific rules are created for dilbit transportation safety; (2) increase the frequency of inspections for dilbit pipelines in particular; (3) create an independent review and public comment process for operators’ oil spill response plans for diluted bitumen; and (4) require operators to detail the type and chemical composition of product transported in their pipelines with greater specificity than is currently required, and to make the information available to the public in the event of a spill.  Pipelines transporting dilbit are already regulated by PHMSA under its 49 C.F.R. Part 195 regulations, and the agency has responded that it is reviewing the document and has already commissioned the National Academy of Sciences to study whether dilbit is more corrosive to pipelines than conventional crude oil.  This research was mandated by Section 16 of the 2012 PSA amendments, and the results of that study are due in July 2013.  An EPA spokesperson has also stated that the agency will review the petition.  Under the APA, PHMSA and EPA are required to respond to the petition within a “reasonable” amount of time.  Thus, the timetable for further developments in this matter are unclear, but at a minimum, the petition could create further delay in the Obama administration’s decision on the Keystone XL project, particularly in light of the rupture of an Exxon Mobil dilbit pipeline in Mayflower, Arkansas on March 29th.  Click here for a copy of the petition.