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Category Archives: Administrative Guidance

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Pipeline Safety Management Systems Workshop Scheduled for July 2, 2014

Posted in Administrative Guidance, PHMSA, Policy
PHMSA announced its second workshop on Pipeline Safety Management Systems (PSMS) scheduled for July 2, 2014.  Notice, 79 Fed. Reg. 34393 (June 16, 2014).  The purpose of this workshop is to discuss the emerging national consensus standard regarding PSMS, draft American Petroleum Institute (API) Recommended Practice 1173, and to identify how concepts discussed at the… Continue Reading

New Emergency Order and Safety Advisory Affecting Crude Shipments by Rail

Posted in Administrative Guidance, Enforcement, PHMSA
The DOT has issued an Emergency Order requiring that railroads operating trains carrying more than 1,000,000 gallons of Bakken crude oil (approximately 35 tank cars) in a particular state must notify the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) of the expected movement of such trains through the counties in that state. … Continue Reading

PHMSA Issues Advisory Bulletin Regarding 2010 Marshall, Michigan Release

Posted in Administrative Guidance, Control Room Management, Incident Response, Integrity Management, PHMSA, Public Awareness/ Community Relations
Almost four years after the Enbridge crude oil spill near Marshall, Michigan, PHMSA issued an Advisory Bulletin urging operators to evaluate their safety programs and implement changes to eliminate deficiencies identified by the NTSB’s investigation of the release. … Continue Reading

Lawmakers Urge Mandatory Security Measures to Protect the Power Grid

Posted in Administrative Guidance, Infrastructure Security
In the wake of an attack last year on an electric substation in California, four U.S. Senators have written a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, urging them to adopt mandatory standards for physical security at electric power facilities. … Continue Reading

Oil Spill Facility Response Plan Advisory: Plans to be Made Public Increased Reliance on USCG Regulations

Posted in Administrative Guidance, Incident Response, PHMSA, Pipeline Safety Act, Policy
Amidst public scrutiny regarding onshore oil pipeline facility response plans (FRPs) and an outstanding statutory mandate to make those plans public, PHMSA issued an Advisory Bulletin regarding FRP requirements at 49 CFR Part 194.  In the Advisory, PHMSA confirms that it will make FRPs publicly available and recommends that operators consider U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) oil… Continue Reading

PHMSA Issues Advisory Bulletin on Flooding Impacts

Posted in Administrative Guidance, Integrity Management, Operation & Maintenance, PHMSA
PHMSA issued an Advisory Bulletin to operators of both oil and gas pipelines regarding the potential damage to pipeline facilities caused by severe flooding.  78 Fed. Reg. 41991 (July 12, 2013).  The Agency has issued several prior Advisory Bulletins on this subject, each of which followed an event that involved severe flooding that affected pipelines.  The… Continue Reading

PHMSA issues Advisory regarding Telephonic Reporting

Posted in Administrative Guidance, Incident Response, PHMSA, Reporting Obligations
PHMSA issued an Advisory Bulletin regarding telephonic reporting to the National Response Center (NRC). 78 Fed. Reg. 6402 (January 30, 2013). The Advisory notes that existing pipeline safety regulations under 49 C.F.R. Parts 191.5 and 195.52 require gas, liquid and LNG operators to report incidents to the NRC at the earliest practicable opportunity, “usually one-to-two… Continue Reading

PHMSA Issues Advisory Regarding Reporting Exceedances of MAOP Plus Allowable Build-Up

Posted in Administrative Guidance, PHMSA, Pipeline Safety Act, Reporting Obligations
In response to Section 23(a) of the 2012 amendments to the Pipeline Safety Act, PHMSA issued an advisory notifying natural gas transmission operators that pressure exceedances above maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) plus the build-up allowed for operation of pressure-limiting or control devices, must be reported on or before the fifth day following the date… Continue Reading

PHMSA Issues Advisory Bulletin Regarding IM Program Evaluation and Performance Metrics

Posted in Administrative Guidance, Integrity Management, PHMSA
In response to NTSB recommendations issued as a result of the San Bruno incident, PHMSA issued guidance on what it considers to be an effective integrity management (IM) performance evaluation process and program for measuring program effectiveness.  In addition, PHMSA IM inspections will emphasize review of operator IM performance metric methodology and confirm that operators… Continue Reading

PHMSA Issues Advisory Regarding Communications During Emergency Situations

Posted in Administrative Guidance, Incident Response, PHMSA, Reporting Obligations
In response to NTSB Safety Recommendation P-11-9 issued as a result of the Agency’s San Bruno investigation, PHMSA published an Advisory Bulletin reminding operators of their responsibility to notify local first responders (identified as Public Safety Access Point or PSAP) when there are indications of a pipeline facility emergency. Consistent with the requirements under 49… Continue Reading

PHMSA Issues Advisory Bulletin on Mechanical Fitting Failure Reports Required Under DIMP

Posted in Administrative Guidance, Integrity Management, PHMSA
PHMSA issued an Advisory Bulletin to provide clarification to gas distribution pipeline owners and operators regarding mechanical fitting failure reports, PHMSA Form 7100.1-2, required under the distribution integrity management regulations (49 CFR Part 192.1009). In particular, with regard to the cause of a leak, PHMSA instructs operators to classify a mechanical fitting failure due to… Continue Reading

EBA Hosts Panel Regarding PHMSA Enforcement Developments

Posted in Administrative Guidance, Administrative Rulemaking, Enforcement, PHMSA
On June 11, 2012, the Energy Bar Association (EBA) hosted a panel regarding new developments in PHMSA enforcement and compliance.  The panelists included, among others, Vanessa Allen Sutherland (PHMSA Chief Counsel), Ben Fred (PHMSA Hearing Officer), and Rod Dyck (PHMSA Director, Office of Enforcement).  Notable discussion topics included: (1) PHMSA’s forthcoming rulemaking regarding administrative enforcement… Continue Reading

PHMSA Issues Advisory Regarding MAOP/MOP Records Verification

Posted in Administrative Guidance, PHMSA, Recordkeeping
In response to NTSB Recommendations and the 2012 amendments to the Pipeline Safety Act, PHMSA has issued guidance to operators to ensure that the MAOP and MOP of all liquid and gas pipeline segments are supported by records that are “traceable, verifiable and complete.” This Advisory marks the first time that PHMSA has issued guidance… Continue Reading

PHMSA issues Advisory Bulletin clarifying National Registry Implementation

Posted in Administrative Guidance, PHMSA, Reporting Obligations
PHMSA’s advisory clarifies the agency’s plan for implementing the national registry of pipelines and LNG operators (and updates PHMSA’s prior Advisory Bulletin published on January 13, 2012, 77 Fed. Reg. 2126), and specifically announces that the Operator Data Entry System (ODES) will be active on March 27, 2012. PHMSA is now requiring that (1) as… Continue Reading

PHMSA issues Advisory Bulletin regarding post-accident drug and alcohol testing

Posted in Administrative Guidance, Incident Response, PHMSA
PHMSA issued an advisory that clarifies the need to perform post accident drug and alcohol testing, within the mandated timelines of the regulations, of each covered employee whose performance either contributed to an accident/ incident or cannot be completely discounted as a contributing factor to an accident/ incident. The advisory was issued in response to… Continue Reading

Part 194 Updated Spill Response Plans Due to PHMSA

Posted in Administrative Guidance, PHMSA
On June 28, 2010, in response to the Gulf oil spill, PHMSA issued an Advisory Bulletin to all liquid pipeline operators, requiring operators to review and, if necessary, revise and update their spill response plans. Such plans are required under 49 C.F.R. Part 194 (DOT’s implementation of OPA-90 spill response requirements). PHMSA notes that in… Continue Reading