The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a notice in Monday’s Federal Register (77 FR 70543; available on-line yesterday) that it’s two pipeline safety advisory committees, the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC) and the Liquid Pipeline Advisory Committee (LPAC), will be holding meetings over a three day period starting December 11th, 2012 in Alexandria, VA. The meetings will cover two new pipeline safety rules under development.
The LPAC will meet on December 11th and the GPAC will meet on December 13th. Both meetings will be half-day affairs. The two will hold a joint meeting all day on December 12th. The last time these two committees met (back in July) they held their joint meeting first and then held their separate meetings afterward. Apparently a scheduling conflict prevented things from happening that way this time.
The notice does state that there will be two topics to be addressed at these meetings, two pipeline safety rules. Those rules address:
• Implement changes to the administrative procedures in Part 190 Enforcement Procedures; and
• Establishment of criteria and procedures for determining the adequacy of state pipeline excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs.
The first appears to be a new rulemaking initiative from PHMSA. There is nothing mentioning this in the latest Unified Agenda. Of course the Obama Administration has not updated the UA since they published the Fall 2011 Agenda in January of this year. We will have to wait and see what information is published on the PHMSA web site or the Federal eRulemaking Portal before this meeting to see what is being proposed.
The second appears to be a follow-up on the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that was published last March. Since that comment period ended July 9th and there were 38 comments posted to the Federal eRulemaking portal (www.regulations.gov; Docket PHMSA-2009-0192) for that NPRM, PHMSA seems to be moving fairly quickly on preparing the final rule on this topic.
The notice does not provide a breakdown of which topics will be specifically addressed at the joint meeting versus the stand alone meetings. Presumably the topics at the joint meeting will not be too much of a carryover from the stand alone meetings because of the way the GPAC meeting follows the joint meeting.
The TPSSAC web site does not provide any information on this meeting as of 07:00 EST this morning. There is a mention of the meeting but the link provided is merely a place holder not an actual link. Please note the name changes that are apparently being made for these two committees from their overly long ‘Technical Pipeline Safety Standards Advisory Committee’ titles. The change that is mentioned in passing in this Notice is not yet reflected on the web site.
PHMSA will not be web casting these meetings, alas an ongoing trend apparently for these two advisory committees. The meetings are open to the public and written and oral comments are being solicited. There is no mention of needing to register to attend these meetings, but you must notify PHMSA by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) by December 5th if you wish to make an oral statement during the meetings.
Written comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (www.Regulations.gov; Docket number PHMSA-2009-0203). Please note that this docket has not yet been established as of 07:00 EST today.