Wednesday, October 27, 2021

PHMSA Sends Coastal Pipeline Safety IFR to OMB

Yesterday the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) announced that it had received an interim final rule for review from DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) on “Pipeline Safety: Coastal Ecological Unusually Sensitive Areas”. This rulemaking is bypassing the notice and comment process because it was mandated by Congress.

According to the abstract for this rulemaking in the 2021 Spring Unified Agenda:

“As mandated by section 120 of the Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2020 (Pub. L. 116-260) and section 19 of the PIPES Act of 2016 (Pub. L. 114-183), PHMSA will amend the definition of unusually sensitive area (USA) to explicitly include the Great Lakes, coastal beaches, and certain coastal waters as USA ecological resources for the purposes of determining whether a pipeline is in a high consequence area (HCA), as defined by 49 CFR 195.450. A hazardous liquid pipeline that could affect these newly-designated areas must be included in an operators' integrity management program.”

This rulemaking is not directly in response to the recent oil pipeline leak off the coast of California.

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