Pipeline Safety Advocacy

Federal Regulations

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TSA Releases Updated Pipeline Security Guidelines

Under the provisions of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was established on November 19, 2001 with responsibility for civil aviation security and security responsibilities over other modes of transportation that are exercised by the Department of Transportation. TSA originally utilized the Pipeline Security Information Circular, issued on September 5, 2002, by the Department of Transportation's (DOT) Office of Pipeline Safety as the primary Federal guideline for industry security. Complementing this document, and also adopted by TSA, was the DOT-issued Pipeline Security Contingency Planning Guidance of June 2002.

In 2011 Pipeline Security Guidelines were developed with the assistance of industry and government members of the Pipeline Sector and Government Coordinating Councils, industry association representatives, and other interested parties. TSA has recently updated the 2011 document.

TSA Pipeline Security Guidelines - March 2018

The security measures in the revised guidance will provide the basis for TSA's Pipeline Security Program Corporate Security Reviews and Critical Facility Security Reviews. This document is guidance and does not impose requirements on any person or company.

PHMSA Releases General Policy Statement on Civil Penalties

Under the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) may assess civil penalties of up to $200,000 per day for violations of its pipeline safety regulations. (PHMSA) may assess civil penalties of up to $200,000 per day for violations of its pipeline safety regulations. The law specifies that in determining the amount of any civil penalty PHMSA must consider:

  • The nature, circumstances and gravity of the violation, including adverse impact on the environment;
  • The degree of the respondent’s culpability;
  • The respondent’s history of prior offenses;
  • Any good faith by the respondent in attempting to achieve compliance; and,
  • The effect on the respondent’s ability to continue in business.

And, PHMSA may consider the economic benefit gained from violation, if readily ascertainable, without any reduction because of subsequent damages as well as other matters as justice may require. A copy of the policy statement can be found here.

APGA Urges PHMSA to Modify Proposed Transmission Rule Changes

On July 7, APGA filed written comments with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) urging them to modify proposed changes to pipeline safety regulations primarily affecting transmission pipelines. Only 62 public natural gas systems have pipe classified as transmission, however virtually all APGA members receive gas through transmission lines, therefore transmission operators would try to pass any additional costs imposed by PHMSA’s rules on to their municipal gas customers. 

The proposed rule covers 136 Federal Register pages and proposed many complex and interrelated changes. A copy of the proposed rule APGA’s written comments can be found here.

PHMSA Delays Construction Inspection Rule Indefinitely

On September 30, 2015 the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a notice in the Federal Register indefinitely delaying the October 1 effective date of its construction inspection rule. The rule published March 11, 2015, made many rule changes including modifying 49 CFR 192.305 to prohibit individuals who performed any task during the construction of a new main or transmission line from performing post-construction inspection of their own work. The final rule included contradictory statements that it was not PHMSA’s intent to force operators to hire outside contractors to perform these inspections, yet provided no alternative to outside inspection in cases where there were no other  operator employees qualified to do the inspections who were not involved in the construction project. On April 10, 2015, APGA filed a petition for clarification and reconsideration of the rule.

PHMSA has formed a working to advise it on how to fix the rule. APGA Vice President, Operations represents public gas on the working group. There has been no progress by the working group since late December, 2016 so the rule continues to be indefinitely delayed.

A copy of the September 30 notice is here.

Legislation

PHMSA Creates Webpage on Status of PIPES Act

President Barack Obama signed the Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act on June 22, 2016. Visit the page at www.phmsa.dot.gov/pipes-act