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DOT/PHMSA RIN: 2137-AF29 Publication ID: Fall 2017 
Title:+Pipeline Safety: Class Location Requirements 
Abstract:

This rulemaking regards existing class location requirements, specifically as they pertain to actions operators are required to take following class location changes. Operators have suggested that performing integrity management measures on pipelines where class locations have changed due to population increases would be an equally safe but less costly alternative to the current requirements of either reducing pressure, pressure testing, or replacing pipe. This request for public comment would be used to inform future regulatory or deregulatory efforts related to this topic.

 
Agency: Department of Transportation(DOT)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: First time published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Prerule Stage 
Major: Undetermined  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: Deregulatory 
CFR Citation: 49 CFR 192   
Legal Authority: 49 USC 60101 et seq.   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

Section 5 of the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 required the Secretary of Transportation to evaluate and issue a report on whether integrity management requirements should be expanded beyond high-consequence areas and whether such expansion would mitigate the need for class location requirements. PHMSA issued a Notice of Inquiry on this topic on August 1, 2013, and issued a report to Congress on its evaluation of this issue in April 2016. In that report, PHMSA decided to retain the existing class location requirements, but noted it would further examine issues related to pipe replacement requirements when class locations change due to population growth. PHMSA noted that it would further evaluate the feasibility and appropriateness of alternatives to address this issue following publication of the final rule, "Pipeline Safety: Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines" (Docket No. PHMSA-2011-0023; RIN 2137-AE72). In line with that intent, section 4 of the Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016 requires PHMSA to provide a report to Congress no later than 18 months after the publication of the gas transmission final rule that reviews the types of benefits, including safety benefits, and estimated costs of the legacy class location regulations. Therefore, PHMSA is initiating this rulemaking to obtain public comment on whether the performance on integrity management measures on pipelines where class locations have changed due to population increases would be an equally safe but less costly alternative to the current class location change requirements.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

Congress established the current framework for regulating the safety of natural gas pipelines in the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 (NGPSA). The NGPSA provided the Secretary of Transportation the authority to prescribe minimum Federal safety standards for natural gas pipeline facilities. That authority, as amended in subsequent reauthorizations, is currently codified in the Pipeline Safety Laws (49 U.S.C. secs. 60101 et seq.).

Alternatives:

In this rulemaking, PHMSA will solicit public opinion on alternatives to the current class location requirements, specifically those requirements causing operators to either reduce pressure, pressure test, or replace pipe when class locations change in areas due to population increases. One such alternative, as suggested by certain members of industry, could include the performance of integrity management measures on affected pipelines. PHMSA is soliciting and will evaluate and consider additional regulatory alternatives, including no action.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

PHMSA believes there is no cost to this rulemaking action, but we will solicit further information on the costs and benefits of the current class location requirements as they pertain to class location changes, as well as the costs and benefits of any alternatives.

Risks:

This rulemaking will provide PHMSA with additional information as to whether the performance of integrity management (or other alternatives) in lieu of the current regulatory requirements for reducing pressure, pressure testing, or replacing pipe when class locations change due to population growth will increase, decrease, or maintain the current level of risk. PHMSA notes that while performing alternatives to the current regulations might allow for an equivalent level of risk, there is a potential for greater consequences in an area where a class location has changed due to population increases along the pipeline.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
ANPRM  04/00/2018 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Information URL: www.regulations.gov   Public Comment URL: www.regulations.gov  
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Cameron Satterthwaite
Department of Transportation
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE,
Washington, DC 20590
Phone:202 366-1319
Email: cameron.satterthwaite@dot.gov