Thursday, April 16, 2020

PHMSA Publishes Pipeline Safety Reform NPRM

Today the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register (85 FR 2114-021159) concerting “Pipeline Safety: Regulatory Reform for Hazardous Liquid Pipelines”. The proposed rule would revise the requirements for facility response plans, revise the definition for accidents, and consider repealing, replacing, or modifying other specific regulations.

The proposed rule would make changes to 49 CFR Parts 190, 194 and 195. The proposed changes would include:

Part 190 - PHMSA is proposing to clarify the requirements for producing records during an inspection or investigation and reduce the burden required to submit confidential commercial information under most circumstances;

Part 194 - PHMSA is proposing amendments that would streamline the oil spill response plan requirements and clarify or eliminate requirements that may be confusing or redundant;

Part 195 - PHMSA is proposing amendments that would relieve accident reporting burdens, allow remote monitoring of rectifier stations, and clarify integrity management (IM) guidance.

Part 190 Changes

PHMSA is proposing to make changes to two sections in Part 190;

§190.203, Inspections and Investigations, and
§190.343, Information Made Available to the Public and Request for Protection of Confidential Commercial Information.

In §190.203 PHMSA is proposing to clarify that operators may submit records electronically, provided that:

• The method used to submit information allows PHMSA to download and print non-redacted copies of records in their original format; and
• Does not impose limitations that impede PHMSA's ability to enforce the Pipeline Safety Laws.

In §190.343 PHMSA is proposing to revise the procedures for operators to request confidential treatment of commercial information to reduce the burden associated with redacting documents containing confidential information.

Part 194 Changes

PHMSA is proposing several changes to part 194 to streamline how operators of onshore oil pipelines must plan, prepare, and submit facility response plans (FRP) for a worst-case oil discharge as required by Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90 - 33 USC 1321). The NPRM would make changes to the following sections:

§194.3, Applicability;
§194.5, Definitions;
§194.7, Operating Restrictions and Interim Operating Authorization;
§194.9, Incorporation by Reference;
§194.101, Operators Required to Submit Plans (to be removed);
§194.103, Significant and Substantial Harm - Operator's Statement;
§194.105, Worst Case Discharge;
§194.107, General Response Plan Requirements;
§194.109, Submissions of State Response Plans;
§194.113, Information Summary;
§194.115, Response Resources;
§194.119, Submission and Approval Procedures;
§194.121, Response Plan Review and Update Procedures;

Part 195 Changes

PHMSA is proposing amendments to part 195, including:

• Adjust the monetary damage criterion for reporting pipeline accidents for inflation,
• Clarifying that operators may monitor cathodic protection rectifiers remotely, and
• Correcting the organization of the IM guidance in appendix C of part 195.

The following sections would be affected:

§195.50, Reporting Accidents;
§195.52, Immediate Notice of Certain Accidents;
§195.573, What must I do to monitor external corrosion control?
Appendix C, Guidance for Implementation of an Integrity Management Program;

Information Collection Requests

This NPRM would require changes being made to two currently approved information collection requests (ICR):

• Transportation of Hazardous Liquids by Pipeline: Record keeping and Accident Reporting (2137-0047); and
• Response Plans for Onshore Oil Pipelines (2137-0589)

For the first, PHMSA estimates that due to the revised monetary damage threshold for reporting accidents operators will submit 40 fewer hazardous liquid accident reports per year.

For the second, the proposed rule would:

• Reduce burden hours associated with justifying harm categories or preparing duplicate federal facility response plans in addition to state mandated response plans; and
• Reduce reporting costs but not paperwork burden hours due to eliminating the expectation to submit paper copies of facility response plans.

Public Comments

PHMSA is soliciting public comments on this NPRM. Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal ( Docket # PHMSA-2018-0047). Comments need to be submitted by June 15th, 2020.

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