APGA Submits Comments on PHMSA’s Liquid Pipeline Regulatory Reform Proposed Rule
On Monday, June 15, APGA joined seven other industry trade associations in submitting comments to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Regulatory Reform for Hazardous Liquid Pipelines. While the large majority of this proposed rule focused on changes to 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 194, which focuses on oil spill response plans, and Part 195, which focuses on safety regulations for liquid pipelines, there were some significant proposals associated with 49 CFR 190 included. Part 190 codifies the enforcement procedures used by PHMSA and their state pipeline safety partners for all pipelines. The proposals attempted to clarify the requirements for producing records during an inspection and reduce the burden required to submit confidential information.
While the associations supported updating the regulations for the reasons PHMSA describes in the proposed rule, there were several changes outlined in the comments to ensure that the sharing of documents remain compliant with other important federal laws requiring that certain confidential, proprietary, and security-sensitive information be safeguarded from public exposure. For example, PHMSA proposed that all documents be shared in their original format with all of its original functionality. The industry commented that this requirement would actually burden the regulators more than the existing practice of converting documents into more universally available formats, such as portable document format (PDF). The comments, also, provided recommendations on how PHMSA could modify the existing requirements to provide a more consistent exchange of documents between operators and regulators while enabling the efficient use of technology to improve the process.
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