PHMSA and the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives (NAPSR) recently announced a one-day public workshop on Class Location Methodology to be held on April 16, 2014.  79 Fed. Reg. 16421 (March 25, 2014).  The purpose of the workshop is to discuss whether applying the gas pipeline integrity management (IM) requirements beyond high consequence areas would mitigate the need for class location requirements, an issue that the 2012 amendments to the Pipeline Safety Act directed PHMSA to evaluate and report on to Congress by January 4, 2014 (no report has yet been issued).  PHMSA invited public comment on this in 2011 (in conjunction with an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on natural gas IM) and again in 2013.   The workshop will feature an overview of the comments received to date, as well as presentations from PHMSA, state regulators, and other stakeholders on both IM methodology and the use of class locations to identify areas of higher risk along pipelines.
Continue Reading PHMSA to Host Workshop on Class Location Methodology

Several Congressional deadlines for PHMSA, under the Pipeline Safety Act amendments (PSA), effective on Jan. 3, 2012, are due.  By July 3, 2013, PHMSA was directed to:

(1) evaluate whether to expand integrity management requirements beyond high consequence areas (HCAs) and whether this may mitigate the need for class location requirements for gas transmission lines (Section 5 of PSA); (2) issue guidance to operators on how to provide information about their systems to local emergency response authorities (Section 6 of PSA); (3) revise existing release reporting regulations at Part 195.52 (liquid lines) and Part 191.5 (gas lines), to address timeliness of reporting (Section 9 of PSA); (4) complete a review of the risks of transporting diluted bitumen, and conclude whether existing regulations are sufficient (Section 16 of PSA); and (5) issue regulations for the testing of natural gas transmission lines in HCAs that are operated at > 30% SMYS (Section 23 of PSA).Continue Reading Statutory Deadlines for PHMSA Action

On December 13, 2012, pursuant to an OMB information collection, PHMSA published a Federal Register notice soliciting comments from operators of hazardous liquid pipelines in HCAs regarding the information-collection requirements relative to the IMP provisions of 49 C.F.R. Part 195.452. Comments were invited on: (a) The need for the proposed collection of information for the

In the wake of last month’s incident in Sissonville, West Virginia, Senator Rockefeller hosted a Senate Commerce Committee field hearing in Charleston, West Virginia to review pipeline safety. The witnesses included: (1) Sissonville resident Sue Bonham who lost her home; (2) NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman; (3) PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman; (4) Susan Fleming of GAO;

As required by the 2012 amendments to the Pipeline Safety Act, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) released a report examining the ability of transmission pipeline operators to respond to releases in high consequence areas (HCAs). The report titled, “Better Data and Guidance Needed to Improve Pipeline Operator Incident Response,” concludes that (1) DOT should improve