Pipeline Safety Update - Issue No. 73

March 26, 2014

NTSB Chair Stepping Down

Deborah A.P. Hersman, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced on March 11 that she will be stepping down from the position April 25, 2014 to become the President and CEO of the National Safety Council.  The current vice chairman, Christopher Hart, will assume the role of Acting Chairman. 

Other NTSB Developments

NTSB Releases Report on Sissonville Accident.  The NTSB released its Accident Report on the December 2012 natural gas pipeline incident near Sissonville, West Virginia.  The NTSB concluded that the probable cause of the pipeline rupture was external corrosion of the pipe wall because of deteriorated coating and ineffective cathodic protection and failure to detect the corrosion.  The NTSB recommended that the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) revise its integrity management regulations to add principal arterial roadways to the list of identified sites that establish a high consequence area (HCA).  The NTSB also recommended that the operator provide pipeline controllers with guidance on responding to alerts; modify its SCADA system to improve the ability of operators to identify potential system malfunctions; and ensure that integrity-related information gathered on pipelines located in HCAs is considered in assessing the risk and integrity of non-HCA pipelines. 

NTSB Investigates Pipeline Failure in New York City.  The NTSB continues to investigate a pipeline explosion that occurred on March 12 in the Manhattan neighborhood of East Harlem.  The investigatory team issued preliminary findings on March 18.

PHMSA Activities

PHMSA Extends TAG Application Deadline to March 31.  PHMSA has extended until March 31, 2014, the deadline for submitting applications for a Technical Assistance Grant.  The grants are designed to support the pipeline safety-related activities of local communities and non-profit entities.

Status of PHMSA Rulemakings.  The table below reflects the most current publicly available information on the status of PHMSA rulemakings as reported in the DOT’s March 2014 Significant Rulemaking Report.  Additional information from the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is here.  New information is highlighted in bold.

 

Rulemaking & Next
Action

Estimated Date to OMB

DOT Estimated
Publication Date

OIRA Estimated
Publication Date

Excess Flow Valves; NPRM

March 17, 2014

June 27, 2014

May 2014

Issues Related to Use of Plastic Pipe in the Gas Pipeline Industry;  NPRM

No Date Announced

April 2014

April 2014

Safety of Gas Transmission
Pipelines; NPRM

May 8, 2014

August 20, 2014

July 2014

Safety of On-Shore Hazardous Liquid Pipelines; NPRM

March 20, 2014

July 9, 2014

April 2014

Valve Installation and Minimum Rupture Detection Standards; NPRM

September 18, 2014

December 29, 2014

TBD

Enforcement of State Excavation Damage Laws; Final Rule

March 13, 2014

June 25, 2014

March 2014

Miscellaneous Amendments to Pipeline Safety Regulations; Final Rule

March 27, 2014

July 9, 2014

August 2014

Periodic Updates of Regulatory
References to Technical
Standards and Miscellaneous
Amendments;  Final Rule

March 7, 2014

June 18, 2014

TBD


 

Selected State Updates

Washington Citizens’ Group on Pipeline Safety Is Seeking New Voting Member.  On March 21, the Washington Citizens Commission on Pipeline Safety, which advises state agencies and federal local agencies on pipeline safety matters, announced that it has an opening for a voting committee member to represent the citizens and general public.  Submit applications here.

To download a full text PDF, which includes Dates of Interest, upcoming PHMSA State Seminars, and State Specific Association Meetings, please click here.