Saturday, September 7, 2019

OMB Approves PHMSA Emergency Order Procedures Final Rule

Yesterday the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) announced that it had approved a final rule from the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) for “Pipeline Safety: Enhanced Emergency Order Procedures”. The approval was provided ‘Consistent with Change’ indicating that OMB required some sort of normally minor revisions to the document.

The abstract from the 2019 Unified Agenda entry for this rulemaking explains:

“PHMSA issued an interim final rule (IFR) that established regulations implementing the emergency order authority conferred on the Secretary of Transportation by the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016 (PIPES Act of 2016 or Act). These regulations are mandated by the PIPES Act of 2016 and establish procedures for the issuance of emergency orders (restrictions, prohibitions) to address unsafe conditions or practices posing an imminent hazard. The purpose of these requirements is to improve PHMSA's existing enforcement authority to allow us to respond immediately and effectively to conditions or practices that pose serious threats to life, property, or the environment. The next planned action is to finalize the interim final rule.”

This final rule would formalize the requirements established in the interim final rule (IFR) published in October 2014. According to 49 USC 60117(o)(7)(A), this final rule should have been published by March 20th, 2017 (270 days from June 22nd, 2016).

There is no way of knowing when this rule will eventually be published in the Federal Register.

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