Tuesday, June 26, 2012

PHMSA Advisory Committees to Meet on New Rule

Today the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration published a notice in the Federal Register (77 FR 38132-38133) that two of their advisory Committees, the Technical

Pipeline Safety Standards Committee (TPSSC) and the Technical Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Standards Committee (THLPSSC), will meet in July in Washington D.C. to discuss a proposed rulemaking to make miscellaneous changes to the pipeline safety regulations and to discuss several future regulatory initiatives. There will be a joint meeting on July 11th and separate simultaneous meetings on July 12th.

While the notice states that the “Agenda is published on the PHMSA (DOT) Web site” (77 FR 38133; and no link is provided for that agenda), that is not currently the case. The web page for this meeting reports that the “complete meeting agenda will be posted to the webpage in the near future along with other meeting documents”. That page does state, however that:

“The agenda will include committee discussions and vote on the proposed rule: ‘Pipeline Safety: Miscellaneous Changes to Pipeline Safety Regulations’ published in the Federal Register on November 29, 2011 (76 FR 73570).”

Presumably, since the comment period on that proposed rule has long since passed, PHMSA is intending for the committees to look at some sort of draft for the final rule.

These meetings will not be web cast, but presentations and documents will be posted after the meetings on the Federal eRulemaking Portal (www.Regulations.gov; Docket # PHMSA-2009-0203). There is no reason given for not web casting the meeting, but it makes it look like PHMSA is trying to limit the public participation in the discussions. The Notice does state that the public may attend and make comments during the meeting (specific times for public comments are typically set aside in the agenda). As is usual for these types of meetings advance notice of intent to make comments needs to be submitted (via email: cheryl.whetsel@dot.gov) by July 5th, 2012. Written comments may also be submitted to the meeting docket listed above.

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