Tag Archives: PHMSA

Upgrades to Unsafe Tank Cars Could Take 15 Years, Board Says

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Accident-prone tank cars used to haul crude oil and ethanol by rail could remain in service for another 15 years under federal rules that allow companies to phase in upgrades to the aging fleet, according to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. Transportation officials and railroad representatives have touted the rules as a key piece of their efforts to stave off future disasters, following a string of fiery derailments and major spills that raised concerns about the crude-by-rail industry. Yet without mandatory, periodic benchmarks for meeting the requirements, the decision to […]

New Pipeline Safety Proposal Contains Multiple New Requirements

May 2016, Vol. 243, No. 5

Pipeline industry executives are pouring over the 500-plus page safety proposal from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), an effort that will take some time before informed comments can be made. The initial comment deadline is at the end of May. “The typical 60 days in which to submit comments will have to no doubt be expanded,” states Thomas Lael, formerly a state and federal pipeline inspector and now a consultant to transmission companies. “The last 100 pages of so of the document I downloaded from the PHMSA web site contained the proposed...

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INGAA Foundation Chairman Rob Riess Takes on Challenging Year

February 2016, Vol. 243, No. 2

If there is one certainty about the energy business, it’s that you never know what tomorrow will bring. Chairing a prominent and influential organization such as the INGAA Foundation is much more than an honorary title. It is bestowed upon individuals with an astute knowledge of the natural gas transmission pipeline business who are willing and capable of pushing members to meet higher standards of workmanship that benefit the industry and ultimately the public. Rob Riess is 2016 chair of the Foundation, which along with “big brother” INGAA, which continues to face never-ending challenges. Riess […]

Industry Becoming More Comfortable with Excess Flow Valves

January 2016, Vol. 243, No. 1

When I first joined the natural gas industry in 1981, excess flow valves (EFVs) were the most controversial issue in distribution pipeline safety. EFVs are simple devices installed in gas-service lines at the connection to the main that remain open under normal flows but close if a surge in flow exceeds the EFV’s trip point, such as might occur if the service line is severed by excavation equipment. EFVs are inexpensive to install when a service line is first installed or later replaced, but significantly more expensive to retrofit on an existing service or replace […]