PHMSA Seeks Comments on Proposed Regulations for On-Shore Pipelines

The Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) occasionally issue rulemaking documents including proposals or adoptions of changes to certain regulations.

Significant hazardous liquid pipeline accidents over the years has prompted PHMSA to publish an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for on-shore pipelines. The organization is seeking comments from interested parties on the need for changes to the regulations covering hazardous liquid on-shore pipelines.

The proposal includes changes to improve protection of the public, property, and the environment by closing regulatory gaps where appropriate, and ensuring that operators are increasing the detection and remediation of unsafe conditions, and mitigating the adverse effects of pipeline failures. The deadline for comments on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is January 8, 2016.

List of Proposals:

  1. Extend Certain Reporting Requirements to All Gravity and Rural Hazardous Liquid Gathering Lines.
  2. Require Inspections of Pipelines in Areas Affected by Extreme Weather, Natural Disasters, and Other Similar Events.
  3. Require Periodic Assessments of Pipelines That Are Not Already Covered Under the IM Program Requirements.
  4. Modify the IM Repair Criteria and Apply Those Same Criteria to Any Pipeline Where the Operator Has Identified Repair Conditions.
  5. Expand the Use of Leak Detection Systems for All Hazardous Liquid Pipelines.
  6. Increase the Use of Inline Inspection Tools

This proposed rulemaking is one of several rules that PHMSA plans on implementing in the near future. Other rulemakings include rupture detection, remote control valve requirements, and operator qualifications to be published next spring.

We encourage stakeholders and interested parties involved in the pipeline industry to comment on this proposal by the January 8th deadline. Please contact our expert consultants at (202) 808-3288 or email us at, for more information on this process.

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