A new Advisory on deactivation of threats for gas transmission lines was issued by PHMSA on March 15, 2017 (to be published in the March 16, 2017 Federal Register). Amidst uncertainty about the fate of various proposed and final rules issued by PHMSA and other federal agencies under the new Administration due to the Regulatory Freeze Executive Memorandum of January 20, 2017 and other executive orders, PHMSA’s issuance of this clarifying guidance regarding minimum criteria for deactivation of integrity threats is notable.
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.