Washington, DC – The American Gas Association (AGA) today commended the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) for publishing its advanced notice of proposed rulemaking, “Pipeline Safety: Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines.” PHMSA is considering whether changes are needed to the regulations governing the safety of gas transmission pipelines. In particular, changes to integrity management (IM) requirements are being examined. Topics under discussion include whether more prescriptive language should be added and whether other issues related to system integrity should be addressed by strengthening or expanding requirements.
“While we will continue to study the details of the proposal, we look forward to the opportunity to comment on the safety recommendations,” said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO, AGA. “Safety is our highest priority. In our role as distributors of natural gas, we encourage the industry-wide dialogue that strengthens and develops the safe delivery of natural gas to our customers.”
In this rulemaking, PHMSA will be considering the requirements in the Pipeline Safety Regulations addressing IM principles for Gas Transmission pipelines. Specifically, PHMSA will be reviewing the definition of a high-consequence area (HCA), including a potential impact radius, the repair criteria for both HCA and non-HCA areas.
When the existing gas transmission IM program was developed in 2003, AGA submitted comments to PHMSA and participated in several public hearings during the rulemaking discussion, which resulted in a new subpart in the pipeline safety regulations, 49 CFR 192 Subpart O.
“AGA believes much has been learned during the implementation of this regulation and it is the appropriate time to evaluate ways to enhance the program,” McCurdy concluded.