PHMSA Publishes Final Rule on Emergency Order Authority

By Erin Kurilla posted 13 days ago

In the Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016, Congress authorized the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to issue Emergency Orders (EO). This authorization allows PHMSA to issue an EO imposing restrictions, prohibitions or safety measures to our entire industry in response to an imminent threat. In 2016, PHMSA issued temporary regulations for how they will issue EOs and, on October 1, 2019, PHMSA published a Final Rule updating those procedures.

EOs are used in response to natural disasters, when serious flaws are discovered in specific pipe materials or equipment manufacturing processes, or the root cause of an accident is determined to be pervasive throughout the industry.

Operators can challenge an EO by choosing either a formal hearing before an administrative law judge or filing a written response to the Associate Administrator of PHMSA. In both scenarios the Associate Administrator must issue the final decision within 30 days of receipt of a petition for review.

View the rule at

For questions on this article, please contact Erin Kurilla of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-0834 or by email at