In response to the 2012 amendments to the Pipeline Safety Act, PHMSA issued a proposal to amend the pipeline safety regulations to incorporate by reference all or parts of new, updated or reaffirmed editions of voluntary consensus standards that are available to the public on the internet.  78 Fed. Reg. 49996 (August 16, 2013).  In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, PHMSA proposes to incorporate new standards and new editions of standards that are already incorporated by reference under 49 C.F.R. Parts 192, 195, 193 and 199.  Specifically, in response to petitions for rulemaking from several natural gas industry groups, PHMSA recommends incorporating a new standard by reference specific to polyethylene gas piping (ASTM D 2513-09a Standard Specification for Polyethylene (PE) Gas Pressure Pipe, Tubing and Fittings, excluding the section on rework materials).

PHMSA also explains that it is not proposing to incorporate certain revised editions, but will continue to analyze whether they should be incorporated at a later date (API RP 1162, Public Awareness Programs for Pipeline Operators (2nd edition, December 2012) and API Standard 653, Tank Inspection, Repair, Alteration and Reconstruction (4th edition, 2010)).  In addition, PHMSA proposes to incorporate new editions of numerous industry consensus standards by reference, including various API Recommended Practices, ANSI/ API Specifications for line pipe and valves, various ASTM Specifications for welding, MMS Standard Practices for flanges and fittings, NACE external corrosion standards, and two NFPA codes.  Lastly, PHMSA proposes several editorial amendments to 49 C.F.R. Parts 192, 195 and 199 including: (1) the Agency’s incorporation by reference provisions at 49 C.F.R. Parts 192.7, 193.2013, and 195.3; (2) 49 C.F.R. Part 192.283 (deleting a reference to a paragraph in the ASTM standard regarding plastic pipe that does not exist); (3) 49 C.F.R. Part 195.452(l) (clarifying that integrity management records must be maintained for the useful life of pipe); and (4) 49 C.F.R. Part 199.111 (deleting the provision because it conflicts with drug and alcohol testing requirements under 49 C.F.R. Part 40).  Comments are due on or before October 14, 2013.  Also note that the President signed HR 2576 into law on August 12, 2013 which relaxes the incorporation by reference Pipeline Safety Act requirements.