On March 20, 2020, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Office of Pipeline Safety issued a Notice to gas and hazardous liquid pipeline, underground natural gas storage and liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility operators, as well as PHMSA state partners, explaining that it will stay enforcement of certain PHMSA pipeline safety requirements in light of the President’s March 13, 2020, Declaration of National Emergency relating to COVID-19. The Notice acknowledges that operators may have limited personnel resources in light of the COVID-19 National Emergency and may need to take actions to meet ongoing operational and maintenance needs in a manner that “may not fully meet federal operator qualification (OQ), control room management (CRM), and employment drug testing requirements.”
Continue Reading PHMSA Issues Notice of Stay of Enforcement to Pipeline Operators

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 Expansive Proposed Rulemaking Issued by PHMSA for Natural Gas Pipelines

Congress passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill (H.R. 2029) that contains a provision to end the United States’ ban on crude oil exports and earmarks for funding the federal pipeline safety program.  The measure passed in the House (316-113) and the Senate (64-33) on Friday, December 18, and was signed by President Obama later that day.
Continue Reading Crude Oil Export Ban Repealed

PHMSA has recently issued a Final Rule establishing review criteria for state excavation damage programs, as well as a process for enforcing Federal excavation damage requirements in states with inadequate excavation damage prevention enforcement.
Continue Reading PHMSA Issues Final Rule on Pipeline Damage Prevention Programs

PHMSA has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), proposing various changes to the natural gas pipeline safety regulations (49 C.F.R. Part 192) to address regulatory requirements involving plastic piping systems used in gas services.
Continue Reading PHMSA Proposes Amendments to Regulations to Address the Use of Plastic Pipe in Gas Service

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 DOT Inspector General Announces Audit of PHMSA