Friday, September 11, 2015

PHMSA Publishes Final Rule for Special Permit Approvals

Yesterday DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a final rule in the Federal Register (80 FR 54418-54440) outlining its internal procedures for reviewing and approving special permits and approvals. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for this rule was published in August 2014.

The new rule establishes definitions for a number of new terms and revises some old definitions. The definitions include:

Special permit; and

The final rule makes revisions to the following existing paragraphs in 49 CFR Part 107:

Section 107.113 Application processing and evaluation;
Section 107.117 Emergency processing;
Section 107.705 Registrations, reports, and applications for approval;
Section 107.709 Processing of an application for approval, including an application for renewal or modification.

The new rule also adds a new Appendix A to the Part 107. This appendix establishes the standard operating procedures that PHMSA will use to review, evaluate and publish special permits and approvals. It addresses the following general areas:

Completeness of application;
Publication in Federal Register;
Evaluation of application, including technical evaluation and safety profile evaluation; and
Disposition of application, including approval, denial and appeal;

While Appendix A is written as an internal PHMSA SOP, a clear understanding of the provisions of Appendix A by applicants for special permits or approvals will go a long way to making the application and approval process more effective.

This final rule becomes effective on November 9th, 2015.

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