Pipeline Safety: Public Meeting on Use of Excess Flow Valves in Gas Distribution Service Lines, 28353-28354 [05-9914]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 94 / Tuesday, May 17, 2005 / Notices ArvinMeritor believes that the noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety and that no corrective action is warranted. ArvinMeritor states that it has conducted dynamic testing of vehicles simulating the affected automatic slack adjusters and based on the results of this testing, ArvinMeritor is satisfied that the braking systems will still halt a vehicle within the stopping distances required by FMVSS No. 121. (The technical summary of brake performance evaluation tests can be found in the NHTSA Docket as an attachment to ArvinMeritor’s petition.) Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments on the petition described above. Comments must refer to the docket and notice number cited at the beginning of this notice and be submitted by any of the following methods. Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Nassif Building, Room PL–401, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590–0001. Hand Delivery: Room PL–401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC. It is requested, but not required, that two copies of the comments be provided. The Docket Section is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Federal holidays. Comments may be submitted electronically by logging onto the Docket Management System Web site at https://dms.dot.gov. Click on ‘‘Help’’ to obtain instructions for filing the document electronically. Comments may be faxed to 1–202–493–2251, or may be submitted to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: go to https:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. The petition, supporting materials, and all comments received before the close of business on the closing date indicated below will be filed and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials received after the closing date will also be filed and will be considered to the extent possible. When the petition is granted or denied, notice of the decision will be published in the Federal Register pursuant to the authority indicated below. Comment closing date: June 16, 2005. Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: delegations of authority at CFR 1.50 and 501.8. Issued on: May 11, 2005. Ronald L. Medford, Senior Associate Administrator for Vehicle Safety. [FR Doc. 05–9741 Filed 5–16–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P VerDate jul<14>2003 15:22 May 16, 2005 Jkt 205001 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration [Docket No. RSPA–03–14455] Pipeline Safety: Public Meeting on Use of Excess Flow Valves in Gas Distribution Service Lines Office of Pipeline Safety, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, DOT. ACTION: Notice; public meeting. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) is sponsoring a public meeting on the use of Excess Flow Valves in gas distribution safety lines as a technique for mitigating the consequences of service line incidents. The meeting will be held on June 17, 2005, in Washington, DC. DATES: The public meeting will be held Friday, June 17, 2005, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the Ritz Carlton hotel, Pentagon City, 1250 South Hays Street, Arlington, VA 22202. The phone number for hotel reservations is (703) 415–5000 or 1– (800)–241–3333. Attendees staying at the hotel must make reservations by May 30. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Israni (PHMSA/OPS) at 202–366– 4571; mike.israni@dot.gov, regarding the subject matter of this notice. For information regarding meeting logistics, please contact Cheryl Whetsel at 202– 366–4431; cheryl.whetsel@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PHMSA/ OPS invites public participation in a meeting to be held on June 17, 2005, to discuss use of excess flow valves (EFV) in gas distribution service lines to mitigate the consequences of potential service line incidents. The preliminary agenda for this meeting includes briefings on the following topics: Operator Case Studies and Experience Analysis of Recent Incident Data NTSB Position and Recommendation Views of State Regulatory Commissioners Views of State Fire Marshals Views of EFV Manufacturers Views of Industry Trade Associations A study for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) conducted by the National Regulatory Research Institute (NRRI) Distribution Integrity Management Program role in EFVs PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 28353 Background EFVs are devices designed to be installed in gas service lines, the pipelines that carry gas from a distribution main to each individual customer. They automatically shut off the flow of natural gas in a service line when the line is ruptured. Proper operation of an EFV would minimize or eliminate safety consequences from fires caused by escaped gas. EFVs will not shut off flow in response to a leak in a building or in response to a slow leak, such as a leak caused by corrosion or a small crack in the service line. If an EFV activates improperly when there is no line break, i.e., spurious actuation, it would cut off gas flow to the customer. Proposals to Require EFV Installation In 2001, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended that DOT mandate installation of EFVs as a means of reducing or preventing injury or death from incidents resulting from service line breaks or ruptures in all new and renewed service lines where operating conditions are compatible with available valves. The public safety community has also weighed-in on this issue. The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) believe the use of EFVs should be required. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) have expressed interest in exploring options to improve gas distribution pipeline integrity management. State Regulatory Considerations Nearly all gas service lines are under the regulatory authority of state regulatory commissions. PHMSA/OPS has been discussing the need to mandate the installation of EFVs with state regulators. A requirement could be promulgated in a stand-alone federal regulation. Alternatively, operators could be required to consider the use of the valves among a range of prevention and mitigation options within the broader context of a Gas Distribution Integrity Management rule. To date, no state has taken a position in support of a stand-alone federal mandate. Several states strongly oppose a stand-alone federal mandate. The leadership of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) has expressed the view that the use of the valves should be considered within the broader context of a Gas Distribution Integrity Management regulation. NARUC has E:\FR\FM\17MYN1.SGM 17MYN1 28354 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 94 / Tuesday, May 17, 2005 / Notices begun its own independent study of this matter to assist in understanding the position of each of the states. Benefit-Cost Study In 2002, OPS tasked the Volpe Center to update a previous benefit-cost study for the mandatory installation of EFVs in new and renewed residential gas service lines. In December 2002, Volpe completed a draft benefit-cost analysis. PHMSA/OPS then published the study in the Federal Register to obtain public comments on the analysis and the underlying data and assumptions. Thirty-nine comments were received from the gas pipeline industry, one state, the fire prevention community, and the public. Many of these comments addressed data errors. In September 2003, Volpe published a final benefit-cost study that corrected errors in the calculations, including an assumed EFV activation rate that was overstated by a factor of 10. The final estimated benefit-cost ratio for mandatory installation of EFVs remained low, between 0.29 and 0.88, depending on assumptions. This means that implementation of the NTSB recommendation for residential gas service lines would expensive relative to the expected benefits. Distribution Integrity Management At present, PHMSA/OPS is considering whether requirements should be imposed to help better assure the integrity of gas distribution pipeline systems and, if so, how those requirements should be structured. PHMSA/OPS is working with a work/ study group consisting of representatives of state pipeline safety regulators, the gas distribution industry, the Gas Pipeline Technology Committee, the Fire Marshal’s Association, and the public. Members of this group are expected to meet periodically, throughout 2005, to evaluate various topics about the decision regarding the need for and nature of potential distribution integrity management requirements. This work/ study group is considering the use of EFVs, in the context of an overall integrity management program, as one of a range of actions that could help to mitigate the consequences of distribution pipeline system incidents. The work/study group notes that there is limited data available on actual experience with EFVs either regarding whether they have been effective in mitigating accidents, or whether they have experienced high rates of spurious actuation that interrupts gas flow to customers. The group is conducting surveys and reviewing available data to VerDate jul<14>2003 15:22 May 16, 2005 Jkt 205001 try to better understand the issues related to potential EF requirements. Current Actions PHMSA/OPS also is conducting evaluations of EFV use. The following actions have been completed or are currently underway. (1) PHMSA/OPS completed a study of five years of incident data and concluded that at most, 100 of 634 reportable incidents met criteria for activation of an EFV. This study will be discussed during the public meeting. (2) PHMSA/OPS commissioned a new study with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to validate EFV performance since the 1998 rulemaking. This study team of research and academic professionals will review measurable data that PHMSA/OPS will collect from individual operators on the operational history of EFVs. PHMSA/OPS has not collected this type of information since the performance standards were set by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). (3) PHMSA/OPS is commissioning further statistical analysis to evaluate operational success rate, false positives, trigger rate, and reduction in damages. (4) PHMSA/OPS collected additional data from state pipeline regulators on EFV installations and activations, including incidents that didn’t reach the reporting threshold. This data revealed that a larger than expected number of operators are voluntarily installing EFVs. (5) PHMSA/OPS is cooperating with NARUC on its study of the use of EFVs. (6) PHMSA/OPS is working with NASFM to review incident data collected by the fire service and to discuss opportunities to enhance overall distribution pipeline safety, including the use of the EFVs. (7) PHMSA/OPS established a State/ Federal Distribution Integrity Management work group to consider development of EFV requirements as a mitigation measure under a Distribution Integrity Management Program. Need for Public Input As described above, much work is ongoing and stakeholders have taken various positions regarding the need to require use of EFVs. The benefit-cost analysis does not appear to support a requirement mandating installation of EFVs. This meeting will update the public on the continuing EFV activities and provide interested stakeholders an opportunity to present their positions for and against a requirement to use EFVs. Therefore, PHMSA/OPS encourages interested members of the PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 public to attend the meeting and to share their views on EFVs. These views will be considered in making decisions regarding the mandatory use of EFVs. Issued in Washington, DC, on May 12, 2005. Florence L. Hamn, Director, Office of Regulations, Office of Pipeline Safety. [FR Doc. 05–9914 Filed 5–16–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–60–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Surface Transportation Board Proposed Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment Request Surface Transportation Board, Transportation. ACTION: 60-day notice and request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Surface Transportation Board (Board), as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork burdens, and as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. (PRA), gives notice that the Board proposes to request reinstatement without change of a previously approved information collection that has expired. Comments are requested concerning (1) Whether the particular collection of information described below is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Board, including whether the collection has practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the Board’s burden estimates; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology, when appropriate. Submitted comments will be summarized and included in the Board’s request for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval. In this notice the Board is requesting comments on the following information collection: Title: Application to Open an Account for Billing Purposes. OMB Control Number: 2104–0006. Form Number: STB Form 1032. Number of Respondents: 20. Affected Public: Mail carriers, shippers, and others doing business before the agency. Estimated Time Per Response: Less than .08 hours. This estimate is based on actual past survey information. E:\FR\FM\17MYN1.SGM 17MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 94 (Tuesday, May 17, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 28353-28354]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-9914]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

[Docket No. RSPA-03-14455]


Pipeline Safety: Public Meeting on Use of Excess Flow Valves in 
Gas Distribution Service Lines

AGENCY: Office of Pipeline Safety, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials 
Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Notice; public meeting.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's 
(PHMSA) Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) is sponsoring a public meeting 
on the use of Excess Flow Valves in gas distribution safety lines as a 
technique for mitigating the consequences of service line incidents. 
The meeting will be held on June 17, 2005, in Washington, DC.

DATES: The public meeting will be held Friday, June 17, 2005, from 8:30 
a.m. to 3 p.m.

ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at the Ritz Carlton hotel, Pentagon 
City, 1250 South Hays Street, Arlington, VA 22202. The phone number for 
hotel reservations is (703) 415-5000 or 1-(800)-241-3333. Attendees 
staying at the hotel must make reservations by May 30.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Israni (PHMSA/OPS) at 202-366-
4571; mike.israni@dot.gov, regarding the subject matter of this notice. 
For information regarding meeting logistics, please contact Cheryl 
Whetsel at 202-366-4431; cheryl.whetsel@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PHMSA/OPS invites public participation in a 
meeting to be held on June 17, 2005, to discuss use of excess flow 
valves (EFV) in gas distribution service lines to mitigate the 
consequences of potential service line incidents. The preliminary 
agenda for this meeting includes briefings on the following topics:

Operator Case Studies and Experience
Analysis of Recent Incident Data
NTSB Position and Recommendation
Views of State Regulatory Commissioners
Views of State Fire Marshals
Views of EFV Manufacturers
Views of Industry Trade Associations
A study for the National Association of Regulatory Utility 
Commissioners (NARUC) conducted by the National Regulatory Research 
Institute (NRRI)
Distribution Integrity Management Program role in EFVs

Background

    EFVs are devices designed to be installed in gas service lines, the 
pipelines that carry gas from a distribution main to each individual 
customer. They automatically shut off the flow of natural gas in a 
service line when the line is ruptured. Proper operation of an EFV 
would minimize or eliminate safety consequences from fires caused by 
escaped gas.
    EFVs will not shut off flow in response to a leak in a building or 
in response to a slow leak, such as a leak caused by corrosion or a 
small crack in the service line. If an EFV activates improperly when 
there is no line break, i.e., spurious actuation, it would cut off gas 
flow to the customer.

Proposals to Require EFV Installation

    In 2001, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) 
recommended that DOT mandate installation of EFVs as a means of 
reducing or preventing injury or death from incidents resulting from 
service line breaks or ruptures in all new and renewed service lines 
where operating conditions are compatible with available valves.
    The public safety community has also weighed-in on this issue. The 
International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the International 
Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) believe the use of EFVs should be 
required. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the 
National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) have expressed 
interest in exploring options to improve gas distribution pipeline 
integrity management.

State Regulatory Considerations

    Nearly all gas service lines are under the regulatory authority of 
state regulatory commissions. PHMSA/OPS has been discussing the need to 
mandate the installation of EFVs with state regulators. A requirement 
could be promulgated in a stand-alone federal regulation. 
Alternatively, operators could be required to consider the use of the 
valves among a range of prevention and mitigation options within the 
broader context of a Gas Distribution Integrity Management rule.
    To date, no state has taken a position in support of a stand-alone 
federal mandate. Several states strongly oppose a stand-alone federal 
mandate. The leadership of the National Association of Regulatory 
Utility Commissioners (NARUC) has expressed the view that the use of 
the valves should be considered within the broader context of a Gas 
Distribution Integrity Management regulation. NARUC has

[[Page 28354]]

begun its own independent study of this matter to assist in 
understanding the position of each of the states.

Benefit-Cost Study

    In 2002, OPS tasked the Volpe Center to update a previous benefit-
cost study for the mandatory installation of EFVs in new and renewed 
residential gas service lines. In December 2002, Volpe completed a 
draft benefit-cost analysis. PHMSA/OPS then published the study in the 
Federal Register to obtain public comments on the analysis and the 
underlying data and assumptions. Thirty-nine comments were received 
from the gas pipeline industry, one state, the fire prevention 
community, and the public. Many of these comments addressed data 
errors.
    In September 2003, Volpe published a final benefit-cost study that 
corrected errors in the calculations, including an assumed EFV 
activation rate that was overstated by a factor of 10. The final 
estimated benefit-cost ratio for mandatory installation of EFVs 
remained low, between 0.29 and 0.88, depending on assumptions. This 
means that implementation of the NTSB recommendation for residential 
gas service lines would expensive relative to the expected benefits.

Distribution Integrity Management

    At present, PHMSA/OPS is considering whether requirements should be 
imposed to help better assure the integrity of gas distribution 
pipeline systems and, if so, how those requirements should be 
structured. PHMSA/OPS is working with a work/study group consisting of 
representatives of state pipeline safety regulators, the gas 
distribution industry, the Gas Pipeline Technology Committee, the Fire 
Marshal's Association, and the public. Members of this group are 
expected to meet periodically, throughout 2005, to evaluate various 
topics about the decision regarding the need for and nature of 
potential distribution integrity management requirements. This work/
study group is considering the use of EFVs, in the context of an 
overall integrity management program, as one of a range of actions that 
could help to mitigate the consequences of distribution pipeline system 
incidents.
    The work/study group notes that there is limited data available on 
actual experience with EFVs either regarding whether they have been 
effective in mitigating accidents, or whether they have experienced 
high rates of spurious actuation that interrupts gas flow to customers. 
The group is conducting surveys and reviewing available data to try to 
better understand the issues related to potential EF requirements.

Current Actions

    PHMSA/OPS also is conducting evaluations of EFV use. The following 
actions have been completed or are currently underway.
    (1) PHMSA/OPS completed a study of five years of incident data and 
concluded that at most, 100 of 634 reportable incidents met criteria 
for activation of an EFV. This study will be discussed during the 
public meeting.
    (2) PHMSA/OPS commissioned a new study with Oak Ridge National 
Laboratory to validate EFV performance since the 1998 rulemaking. This 
study team of research and academic professionals will review 
measurable data that PHMSA/OPS will collect from individual operators 
on the operational history of EFVs. PHMSA/OPS has not collected this 
type of information since the performance standards were set by the 
American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM).
    (3) PHMSA/OPS is commissioning further statistical analysis to 
evaluate operational success rate, false positives, trigger rate, and 
reduction in damages.
    (4) PHMSA/OPS collected additional data from state pipeline 
regulators on EFV installations and activations, including incidents 
that didn't reach the reporting threshold. This data revealed that a 
larger than expected number of operators are voluntarily installing 
EFVs.
    (5) PHMSA/OPS is cooperating with NARUC on its study of the use of 
EFVs.
    (6) PHMSA/OPS is working with NASFM to review incident data 
collected by the fire service and to discuss opportunities to enhance 
overall distribution pipeline safety, including the use of the EFVs.
    (7) PHMSA/OPS established a State/Federal Distribution Integrity 
Management work group to consider development of EFV requirements as a 
mitigation measure under a Distribution Integrity Management Program.

Need for Public Input

    As described above, much work is ongoing and stakeholders have 
taken various positions regarding the need to require use of EFVs. The 
benefit-cost analysis does not appear to support a requirement 
mandating installation of EFVs.
    This meeting will update the public on the continuing EFV 
activities and provide interested stakeholders an opportunity to 
present their positions for and against a requirement to use EFVs. 
Therefore, PHMSA/OPS encourages interested members of the public to 
attend the meeting and to share their views on EFVs. These views will 
be considered in making decisions regarding the mandatory use of EFVs.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on May 12, 2005.
Florence L. Hamn,
Director, Office of Regulations, Office of Pipeline Safety.
[FR Doc. 05-9914 Filed 5-16-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-60-P