Pipeline Law

Pipeline Law

Tag Archives: PHMSA

PHMSA and CSB Urge Special Precautions in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey

Posted in Administrative Guidance, Incident Response, Operation & Maintenance, PHMSA, Public Awareness/ Community Relations
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the devastating storm that recently swept through central Texas, both the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) are urging special precautions to minimize the impact of the storm on pipeline and other energy infrastructure in the state.… Continue Reading

Pipelines Subject to Higher Penalties under New PHMSA Civil Penalty Policy

Posted in Administrative Guidance, Enforcement, PHMSA, Pipeline Safety Act, Policy
On October 11, 2016, PHMSA released a Policy Statement notifying owners and operators of oil and gas pipelines that it is finally making its civil penalty framework publicly accessible, and that respondents may now request proposed civil penalty calculations in enforcement actions.… Continue Reading

Pipe Subject to Safety Regulations Until Formally Abandoned: PHMSA Advisory

Posted in Administrative Guidance, Enforcement, Natural Gas, Operation & Maintenance, PHMSA, Recordkeeping, Reporting Obligations
PHMSA issued an advisory to operators regarding the applicability of its safety regulations to idled, inactive and abandoned pipe. Congress directed PHMSA to issue such an advisory in the recent PIPES Act of 2016, in response to several high profile incidents involving idled pipe. … Continue Reading

Advisory Bulletin Warns About Corrosion Under Insulation

Posted in Administrative Guidance, Integrity Management, Operation & Maintenance, PHMSA, Policy
A recent PHMSA Advisory Bulletin warns the pipeline industry about Corrosion Under Insulation (CUI), which is frequently used on pipe transporting heavy crude oil.  Such products are often heated for more efficient transport, thus the pipe is wrapped with foam insulation over the coating, and then further covered with a tape wrap over the insulation.  The… Continue Reading

Comment Period Extended 30 Days for PHMSA Gas Proposed Rule

Posted in Administrative Rulemaking, Integrity Management, Natural Gas, PHMSA, Recordkeeping, Reporting Obligations
PHMSA announced that it will extend the comment period on its proposed gas rule by only 30 days, with comments due on or before July 7, 2016.  Due to the scope and complexity of the proposal, numerous parties requested a 60 day extension of the comment period.  In granting the 30 day extension, PHMSA noted… Continue Reading

Expansive Proposed Rulemaking Issued by PHMSA for Natural Gas Pipelines

Posted in Administrative Rulemaking, Construction & Design, Integrity Management, Natural Gas, Operation & Maintenance, PHMSA, Pipeline Safety Act, Recordkeeping, Reporting Obligations
PHMSA has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM or Notice) to substantially revise that Agency’s rules (at 49 CFR Part 192) for construction, operation and maintenance of natural gas pipeline systems. … Continue Reading

New Construction Inspection Rule Delayed Indefinitely; Pressure Vessel Testing Exception Under Consideration

Posted in Administrative Rulemaking, PHMSA
In a recent Final Rule, PHMSA delayed indefinitely the effective date of its new amendment to 49 C.F.R. Part 192.305 concerning construction inspections, and agreed to consider an exception to the new requirement in Part 192.153(e) that ASME pressure vessels be pressure tested at 1.5 times MAOP.… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Rejects San Francisco Lawsuit Against PHMSA

Posted in Judicial/ Administrative Decisions, PHMSA, Pipeline Safety Act
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed dismissal of a lawsuit brought in 2012 by the City and County of San Francisco (San Francisco) to challenge PHMSA’s oversight of State enforcement of pipeline safety standards before and after the San Bruno pipeline incident in 2010. … Continue Reading

PHMSA Comes Under Scrutiny as Pipeline Safety Act Reauthorization Draws Near

Posted in Administrative Rulemaking, Federal/ State Legislation, PHMSA, Pipeline Safety Act
The Pipeline Safety Act (PSA) is up for reauthorization at the end of September of this year and, in the wake of recent high-profile incidents and increased scrutiny of the effectiveness of PHMSA pipeline safety oversight, it remains to be seen whether Congress will impose new substantive amendments to the statute or simply pass a… Continue Reading

DOT Inspector General Announces Audit of PHMSA

Posted in PHMSA, Pipeline Safety Act, Policy
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Inspector General (OIG) will commence an audit this month of PHMSA’s pipeline and hazardous materials safety programs to assess the Agency’s performance, with particular emphasis on its progress and process for implementing congressional mandates and recommendations from NTSB, GAO, and OIG, dating back to 2005.… Continue Reading

PHMSA Rail Transportation Rules Reflect Pressure to Act in the Face of Recent Oil Train Derailments

Posted in Administrative Rulemaking, Environmental, Incident Response, PHMSA
Under pressure from Congress, NTSB, and the public to take regulatory action in light of recent accidents involving oil trains, PHMSA finalized its regulations applicable to “High-Hazard Flammable Trains” in a Final Rule issued a mere nine months after it was proposed in an August 1, 2014 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.… Continue Reading

PHMSA Issues Notice of Random Drug Testing Annual Percentage Rate for Calendar Year 2015

Posted in PHMSA, Reporting Obligations
PHMSA regulations require operators to perform random drug testing on a certain percentage of their “covered employees” (i.e. employees, contractors, and contractor employees who perform regulated operations, maintenance, or emergency response functions on a pipeline or LNG facility, 49 C.F.R. Part 199.3).  49 C.F.R. Part 199.105(c).  The Agency publishes the minimum percentage of covered employees… Continue Reading

Pipeline Abandonment: Safety and Supply Concerns at the Heart of Recent Developments

Posted in Practice Pointers
Recent legislative and regulatory developments at the federal and state levels signal lawmakers’ increased attention to issues related to the abandonment of oil and gas pipelines.  The U.S. House of Representatives is currently considering a bill, proposed earlier this year in the wake of a release of crude oil in the streets of a Los Angeles… Continue Reading