APGA Federal Comments
Pipeline safety is regulated by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). APGA actively participates in PHMSA’s rulemaking process through written comments, participation in public workshops, and during PHMSA’s Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee Meetings. Click Here for a list of APGA’s written comments on current and recent pipeline safety rulemakings.
APGA State Comments
Pipeline safety statues allow for states to assume safety authority over gas distribution and intrastate transmission pipelines. Thirty-eight states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico provide serve in that capacity. Each of those states are permitted to apply more stringent regulations above and beyond the federal minimum standard through. When requested by an APGA member, APGA will participate in a state pipeline safety rulemaking process. Click Here for a list of APGA’s written comments on state based pipeline safety issues.
Pipeline Safety Reauthorization & PIPES Act
Every four years Congress must pass legislation to reauthorize the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to regulate the safety of the nation’s pipeline system. The three committees with jurisdiction over pipeline safety are the Senate Committee on Commerce, the House Committee on Energy & Commerce and the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure.
- Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2020. This bipartisan law signed on December 27, 2020, both reauthorizes PHMSA to serve as the regulator of pipeline safety activities and mandates additional oversight, research, or regulations. Several of the mandates are directly a result of the 2018 incident in Merrimack Valley. Some of the new mandates include:
- PHMSA must require operators to update their new distribution integrity management plans, emergency response plans, and O&M plans. PHMSA must also require operators to implement leak detection and repair programs that consider the environment.
- Operators must manage records, and update, as necessary their district regulator stations to eliminate a common mode of failure. Operators must also locate and categorize all leaks that are hazardous to human safety, the environment, or can become hazardous.
- 2019 Pipeline Safety Reauthorization Activities
- APGA submitted comments to the House Energy and Commerce Committee (read here) and APGA supports the following positions:
- Funding - Congress should continue funding PHMSA at historic levels. APGA also believes it is important that state programs receive the support needed to appropriately staff and train state pipeline safety inspectors.
- Addressing Existing Mandates - All stakeholders are dedicated and committed to addressing existing outstanding Congressional mandates that came out of previous Pipeline Safety Act reauthorizations. Additional priorities have the potential to distract from this focus. Congress should minimize new requirements that may distract from the completion of existing mandates.
- New Mandates - APGA supports meaningful mandates that encourage operators to add layers of protection that prevent pipeline incidents. Congress should ensure that any new mandates for PHMSA rulemakings are scalable and flexible due to variability in gas system size, geography, age, etc. APGA opposes actions against any pipelines that can negatively impact the safety or operations of those pipelines.