Wednesday, July 1, 2020

PHMSA Withdraws Natural Gas Pipelines Facilities NPRM

Yesterday the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) announced that the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) had withdrawn a notice of proposed rulemaking  (NPRM) concerning “Pipeline Safety: Amendments to Liquefied Natural Gas Facilities”. The NPRM was submitted to OIRA on March 12th, 2020.

This rulemaking is still listed in the Spring 2020 Unified Agenda as an active effort with the expectation (a very aspirational expectation as all are projections in the Unified Agenda) that an NPRM would be issued in June of 2020 (one day gone now). The latest abstract for the rulemaking states that:

“PHMSA is proposing to update incorporated industry standards and revise all subparts of part 193 as needed. These updates to part 193 will address the risks associated with today's liquefied natural gas facilities, including permanent, small scale liquefied natural gas pipeline facilities as required by section 27 of the PIPES Act of 2016.”

That requirement in the PIPES Act (§27(b), PL 114-183, 130 STAT. 531-2) requires that:

“The Secretary of Transportation shall review and update the minimum safety standards prescribed pursuant to section 60103 of title 49, United States Code, for permanent, small scale liquefied natural gas pipeline facilities.”

Perhaps PHMSA is planning on a significant revision to the NPRM? Or could it be that the agency is expecting that a new administration in 2021 might have a significantly different outlook on pipeline regulations?

OIRA does not publish the documents instructing it to remove a rulemaking from consideration.

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