PHMSA Extends Comment Period for Natural Gas Transmission Pipelines

May 2016, Vol. 243, No. 5

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) pushed back the deadline for comments on the proposed natural gas transmission rule until July 7.

The proposed regulations would update critical safety requirements for natural gas transmission pipelines and expand risk-based safety practices to pipelines located in areas where incidents could have serious consequences.

The 30-day extension allows more time for review of the proposed changes, made available to the public March 17, nearly three weeks prior to publication in the Federal Register on April 8.

“The proposed regulations address the emerging needs of America’s natural gas pipeline system and include commonsense measures to better ensure the safety of communities living alongside pipeline infrastructure and protect our environment,” said PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez.

The proposed regulations address four congressional mandates from the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty and Job Creation Act of 2011, one GAO recommendation and six NTSB recommendations, including the recommendation adopted in the wake of the San Bruno explosion that pipelines built before 1970 be tested.

Pipelines built before 1970 are currently exempted from certain pipeline safety regulations because they were constructed and placed into operation before pipeline safety regulations were developed.

In its investigation of the PG&E natural gas pipeline failure and explosion in San Bruno, CA, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that hydrostatic testing of grandfathered pipelines would likely have exposed the defective pipe that led to the pipeline failure.

To submit comments electronically to the docket, visit www.regulations.gov and enter PHMSA-2011-0023 in the search box.

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