Pipeline Law

Pipeline Law

Tag Archives: natural gas

D.C. Circuit Raises the Stakes: NEPA Defect Sufficient to Halt Pipeline Operations

Posted in Environmental, Judicial/ Administrative Decisions, Natural Gas
Federal agencies that authorize or permit large infrastructure projects, like interstate natural gas pipelines, are often subject to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, and environmental organizations frequently rely on NEPA to challenge a project. The D.C. Circuit recently struck down a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve the construction and operation of three interstate natural gas pipelines because the Court found defects in FERC’s NEPA analysis. The court’s decision to vacate FERC’s authorization now threatens to shut down the pipelines, including the Sabal Trail pipeline currently supplying natural gas to newly constructed power plants in Florida.… Continue Reading

FERC: Water Quality Certification Waiver Period for Pipeline Projects Begins Upon Receipt of a Written Request for Certification

Posted in Environmental, Judicial/ Administrative Decisions, Natural Gas
On September 15, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or the Commission) issued an order in which it concluded that delays by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC or the Department) in processing Millennium Pipeline Company’s application for Clean Water Act (CWA) water quality certification constituted a waiver of the certification requirement. … Continue Reading

Another Step Closer to Federal Regulation of Underground Storage

Posted in Administrative Guidance, Environmental, Federal/ State Legislation, Integrity Management, Natural Gas, PHMSA, Policy
The ongoing leak of methane from Southern California Natural Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon/Porter Ranch underground storage field near Los Angeles has drawn national attention to underground natural gas storage, triggering regulatory and legislative efforts to regulate these facilities at federal and state levels.… Continue Reading

Additional Underground Natural Gas Storage Regulation Contemplated

Posted in Environmental, Federal/ State Legislation, PHMSA, Pipeline Safety Act
Further Regulation of Underground Natural Gas Storage is under consideration by several state and federal agencies. Gas storage helps moderate supply and demand. As a result, natural gas and related gas products have been stored underground for many years, either in depleted oil or gas field formations, aquifers or salt caverns. Above ground aspects of… Continue Reading

Extension of Comment Period on Revisions to PHMSA Gas Reporting Forms

Posted in Administrative Rulemaking, PHMSA, Reporting Obligations
Additional proposed revisions to natural gas reporting forms signal that PHMSA continues to rely on this data to analyze operator performance metrics and inform future rulemakings.  By notice issued on November 27, 2013, the Agency responded to comments on revisions to several natural gas reporting forms that it proposed in June (see prior posting) and… Continue Reading

PHMSA Revises IVP And Extends Comment Period on Proposed Integrity Verification Process

Posted in Integrity Management, PHMSA, Policy
To comply with Pipeline Safety Act requirements to confirm the operating pressure limits of certain natural gas transmission pipelines, PHMSA held a public workshop on its proposed ‘Integrity Verification Process’ (IVP) on August 7, 2013.  In response to feedback from stakeholders received after the workshop, the Agency announced on September 12, 2013 a revised IVP flowchart. … Continue Reading

PHMSA Workshop on Integrity Verification Process for Natural Gas Pipelines

Posted in Integrity Management, PHMSA, Pipeline Safety Act, Policy
To meet Congressional mandates with regard to confirming the operating pressure limits of certain natural gas transmission pipelines, PHMSA will conduct a workshop on the concept of Integrity Verification Process (IVP) on August 7, 2013.  78 Fed. Reg. 32010 (May 28, 2013). In addition, PHMSA released an initial draft approach for IVP in the form of a… Continue Reading

EPA Issues New Oil Tank Emission Standards and Deadlines

Posted in Administrative Rulemaking, Environmental, Reporting Obligations
EPA has established new deadlines and caps on volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from storage tanks used in oil and natural gas production and transmission that have the potential to emit more than 6 tons of VOCs per year. The pre-publication version of the new rule, to be codified as amendments to 40 C.F.R. Part… Continue Reading

PHMSA Clarifies Application of “Outside Areas” for Class 3 Locations along Gas Pipelines

Posted in PHMSA
A Final Order issued by PHMSA clarifies how operators of natural gas pipelines should apply the Class Location rule that includes within the definition of a Class 3 area certain “frequently used buildings or well defined outside areas.” Design, construction, testing and operating pressure standards for natural gas pipelines vary by Class Location, with criteria… Continue Reading

PHMSA Requests Comments on Revised Reporting Forms for Gas Distribution Pipelines

Posted in Administrative Rulemaking, PHMSA, Reporting Obligations
On February 13, 2013, PHMSA published a notice of its intent to revise the gas distribution annual report (PHMSA F7100.1–1). PHMSA received comments in response to that notice from the American Gas Association and the American Public Gas Association.  In today’s notice, PHMSA responds to the comments by: (a) revising Part A, Section 7 of… Continue Reading

Expedited Permitting Bill Introduced in House

Posted in Construction & Design, Environmental, Federal/ State Legislation
Representative Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) introduced HR 1900, to provide for timely consideration of licenses, permits, and approvals with respect to the siting, construction, expansion, or operation of any natural gas pipeline projects. The bill would amend the Natural Gas Act by requiring FERC to approve or deny a certificate of public convenience or necessity no… Continue Reading

EPA IG Report Suggests EPA Data Underestimates Emissions from Oil and Gas Operations

Posted in Environmental, Policy
The EPA Inspector General issued an audit report on February 21, 2013, analyzing oil and gas production emissions data contained in the 2008 National Emissions Inventory. The IG drew several conclusions from its review, including that the data is limited and incomplete for several key air pollutants, and that there are data gaps for some… Continue Reading

GAO Issues Report on Natural Gas Permitting Processes

Posted in Construction & Design, PHMSA, Pipeline Safety Act
In response to the PSA amendments of 2011, GAO reviewed permitting processes for both interstate and intrastate natural gas pipeline projects given the recent increase in pipelines needed to manage the growth in domestic natural gas production.  While the report does not make any particular recommendations, it does examine the various permit processes necessary to… Continue Reading

Senate Commerce Committee Field Hearing Regarding Pipeline Safety

Posted in Incident Response, Integrity Management, PHMSA, Policy, Reporting Obligations
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;… Continue Reading

PHMSA Extends Deadline for 2012 Gas Transmission and Gathering Annual Reports

Posted in Administrative Rulemaking, PHMSA, Reporting Obligations
Due to the significant changes to the gas transmission and gathering annual report, recently approved by the Office of Management and Budget, PHMSA extended the filing deadline for calendar year 2012 data from March 5, 2013 to June 15, 2013. 78 Fed. Reg. 5866 (Jan. 28, 2013). PHMSA also reminds operators to validate their Operator… Continue Reading

INGAA Releases Study Finding Increased Delays in Non-FERC Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting

Posted in Construction & Design, Federal/ State Legislation, PHMSA, Policy
Despite the goal of the 2005 Energy Policy Act’s (EPAct) to streamline and expedite permitting for natural gas pipeline construction projects, a recent study funded by INGAA found that non-FERC agencies have experienced increased delays in permitting projects. The percentage of federal authorizations issued more than 90 days beyond FERC’s issuance of its final NEPA… 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 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

PHMSA Announces Public DIMP Meeting

Posted in Integrity Management, PHMSA
PHMSA and the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives (NAPSR) are sponsoring a public meeting on June 27, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas, to discuss operator implementation of and compliance with the Distribution Integrity Management Program (DIMP) regulations (49 CFR Part 192, Subpart P). PHMSA, NAPSR, and industry representatives will share observations from initial PHMSA… Continue Reading

GAO releases report on low-stress natural gas transmission pipelines

Posted in PHMSA, Policy
The Government Accounting Office (GAO) has released its report, ‘Safety Effects of Less Prescriptive Requirements for Low-Stress Natural Gas Transmission Pipelines Are Uncertain’ to Congress. In response Congress’s request, GAO analyzed whether the integrity requirements for distribution lines should also apply to low-stress transmission pipelines due to their similar operating pressures. GAO concluded that the… Continue Reading

City of San Francisco sues PHMSA

Posted in Judicial/ Administrative Decisions, PHMSA
The City of San Francisco filed suit against PHMSA for allegedly failing to enforce gas pipeline safety standards before and after the San Bruno incident. Notably the lawsuit does not name the California Public Utilities Commission, the California agency certified by PHMSA to regulate intrastate natural gas pipelines. Click here for the Complaint.… Continue Reading

PHMSA publishes NPRM regarding miscellaneous changes to Parts 191, 192, 195 and 198

Posted in Administrative Rulemaking, Reporting Obligations
In order to correct errors, address inconsistencies and respond to rulemaking petitions, PHMSA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding miscellaneous changes to the pipeline safety regulations. The proposed changes would revise requirements regarding construction inspections, leak surveys for certain gathering lines, qualifying plastic pipe joiners, mill hydrostatic tests and notifications for pipe operating at… Continue Reading