PHMSA has rescheduled the public meetings of the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC) for January 11-12, 2017.  The purpose of these meetings is to discuss PHMSA’s proposed gas mega rule and the underlying regulatory analysis.  The meetings were previously scheduled for December 7-8, 2016, but have been rescheduled based on the availability of committee members and resources.

GPAC advises PHMSA on the technical feasibility, reasonableness, cost-effectiveness, and practicability of proposed natural gas pipeline safety standards.  The committee is comprised of members evenly divided among federal and state governments, the regulated industry and the general public.  This meeting likely represents the last opportunity for public input on PHMSA’s “Safety of Gas Transmission and Gathering Pipelines,” one of the largest rulemakings in the history of the Agency.

If finalized as proposed, the rulemaking would nearly double the length of PHMSA rules under the 49 C.F.R. Parts 191 and 192.  The massive rulemaking proposes expanded scope for system integrity, expanded areas subject to in line inspection and expanded repair criteria (both within and without the boundaries of high consequence areas), and new recordkeeping requirements, among other changes.  The rule would also significantly expand the number of onshore gathering lines subject to PHMSA regulation.  While the rulemaking is targeted to transmission and gathering pipelines, many of its proposals impact distribution pipelines as well.  The proposed rule prompted substantial comment from operators and industry trade groups, including requests that PHMSA to reconsider and withdraw certain expansive proposals.

The deadline for registering is January 4, 2017.  The meeting will be held at the Hilton Arlington in Arlington, Virginia and it will not be webcast, but additional information including the agenda for the meeting will be published on the registration page.