Pipeline Safety: Operator Qualifications; Statutory Changes, 34693-34695 [05-11864]

Download as PDF 34693 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 114 / Wednesday, June 15, 2005 / Rules and Regulations bandwidth of more than 6.25 kHz, the equipment must be capable of supporting a minimum data rate of 4800 bits per second per 6.25 kHz of channel bandwidth. * * * * * (4) * * * (ii) 12.5 kHz for multi-bandwidth mode equipment with a maximum channel bandwidth of 12.5 kHz if it is capable of operating on channels of 6.25 kHz or less; (iii) 25 kHz for multi-bandwidth mode equipment with a maximum channel bandwidth of 25 kHz if it is capable of operating on channels of 6.25 kHz or less; and (iv) Up to 25 kHz if the equipment meets the efficiency standard of paragraph (j)(5) of this section. * * * * * (6) Applications for certification received on or after January 1, 2011, except for hand-held transmitters with an output power of two watts or less, will only be granted for equipment with the following channel bandwidths: (i) 6.25 kHz or less for single bandwidth mode equipment; (ii) 12.5 kHz for multi-bandwidth mode equipment with a maximum channel bandwidth of 12.5 kHz if it is capable of operating on channels of 6.25 kHz or less; and (iii) Up to 25 kHz if the equipment meets the efficiency standard of paragraph (j)(5) of this section. * * * * * (8) Transmitters designed only for one-way paging operations may be certificated with up to a 25 kHz bandwidth and are exempt from the spectrum efficiency requirements of paragraphs (j)(3) and (j)(5) of this section. * * * * * (11) Except as provided in this paragraph, single-mode and multi-mode transmitters designed to operate in the 150–174 MHz and 421–512 MHz bands that operate with a maximum channel bandwidth greater than 12.5 kHz shall not be manufactured in, or imported into, the United States after January 1, 2011, except as follows: (i) To the extent that the equipment meets the efficiency standard of paragraph (j)(3) of this section, or (ii) Where operation with a bandwidth greater than 12.5 kHz is specified elsewhere. * * * * * I 5. Section 90.209 is amended by revising footnote 3 immediately following the table in paragraph (b)(5) and by revising paragraph (b)(6) to read as follows: § 90.209 * Bandwidth limitation. * * (b) * * * (5) * * * * * STANDARD CHANNEL SPACING/BANDWIDTH Frequency band (MHz) * Channel spacing (kHz) * * * * * * * Operations using equipment using a 25 kHz bandwidth will be authorized a 20 kHz bandwidth. Operations using equipment designed to operate with a 12.5 kHz channel bandwidth will be authorized an 11.25 kHz bandwidth. Operations using equipment designed to operate with a 6.25 kHz channel bandwidth will be authorized a 6 kHz bandwidth. All stations must operate on channels with a bandwidth of 12.5 kHz or less beginning January 1, 2013, unless the operations meet the efficiency standard of § 90.203(j)(3) unless specified elsewhere. * * * * * (6)(i) Beginning January 1, 2011, no new applications for the 150–174 MHz and/or 421–512 MHz bands will be acceptable for filing if the applicant utilizes channels with an authorized bandwidth exceeding 11.25 kHz, unless specified elsewhere or the operations meet the efficiency standards of § 90.203(j)(3). (ii) Beginning January 1, 2011, no modification applications for stations in the 150–174 MHz and/or 421–512 MHz bands that increase the station’s authorized interference contour, will be acceptable for filing if the applicant utilizes channels with an authorized bandwidth exceeding 11.25 kHz, unless specified elsewhere or the operations 3 VerDate jul<14>2003 16:54 Jun 14, 2005 Jkt 205001 * Authorized bandwidth (kHz) * meet the efficiency standards of § 90.203(j)(3). See § 90.187(b)(2)(iii) and (iv) for interference contour designations and calculations. Applications submitted pursuant to this paragraph must comply with frequency coordination requirements of § 90.175. [FR Doc. 05–11477 Filed 6–14–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration 49 CFR Parts 192 and 195 [Docket No. RSPA–03–15734; Amdt. 192– 100, 195–84] RIN 2137–AD95 Pipeline Safety: Operator Qualifications; Statutory Changes Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), DOT. ACTION: Direct final rule; confirmation of effective date. AGENCY: SUMMARY: This document confirms the effective date of the direct final rule published in the Federal Register on March 3, 2005. The direct final rule amended regulations that require PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 * * operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines to conduct programs to evaluate the qualifications of individuals who perform certain safetyrelated tasks on pipelines. DATES: The direct final rule published March 3, 2005, goes into effect July 15, 2005. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: L.M. Furrow by phone at 202–366–4559, by fax at 202–366–4566, by mail at U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590, or by e-mail at buck.furrow@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On March 3, 2005, PHMSA published a Direct Final Rule (DFR) titled ‘‘Pipeline Safety: Operator Qualifications; Statutory Changes’’ (70 FR 10332). The DFR amended the personnel qualification regulations in 49 CFR part 192, subpart N, and 49 CFR part 195, subpart G, which require operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipelines to conduct programs for evaluating the qualifications of pipeline personnel. The amendments conformed the regulations to program changes contained in section 13 of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 (49 U.S.C. 60131). These statutory changes concern personnel training, notice of significant program changes, governmental review and verification of E:\FR\FM\15JNR1.SGM 15JNR1 34694 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 114 / Wednesday, June 15, 2005 / Rules and Regulations operators’ programs, and using observation of on-the-job performance as the sole method of evaluating qualifications. In the DFR, PHMSA stated that if it did not receive an adverse comment, as defined in 49 CFR 190.339(c), or notice of intent to file an adverse comment by May 2, 2005, it would publish a confirmation document to announce that the DFR would go into effect on July 1, 2005, or at least 30 days after the confirmation document is published, whichever is later. PHMSA received two comments on the DFR. One commenter made general remarks about PHMSA’s pipeline safety program, and the other commenter, DJL Services, had more specific comments. The comments are summarized below. Comment: One commenter said that because severe pipeline explosions are causing deaths and injuries, program upgrades are needed, including higher penalties and more inspection visits for negligent pipeline operations. Response: We are upgrading various aspects of our pipeline safety program. One important upgrade involves regulation of personnel qualifications and work with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to create a national consensus standard on qualification of operator personnel. In addition, maximum penalties for violations of safety standards were recently increased, and we continue to focus inspections on operators that fail to give proper attention to compliance. Nevertheless, because this comment addresses pipeline safety in general rather than a new rule established by the DFR, we do not consider the comment to be an adverse comment. Comment: DJL Services took issue with the preamble statement that ‘‘observation of * * * training by simulation’’ is an allowable evaluation method (see 70 FR 10334). The commenter argued that in 49 U.S.C. 60131(d)(1) Congress referred to ‘‘simulations’’ as a stand-alone method of examining or testing, and that calling simulations ‘‘training by simulation’’ will result in an inappropriate application of the law. Response: Both the statute (49 U.S.C. 60131(d)(1)) and existing regulations (49 CFR 192.803 and 195.503) cite ‘‘observation during * * * simulations’’ as an acceptable method of evaluating personnel qualifications. The ‘‘simulations’’ to be observed involve personnel experiencing mock pipeline conditions, usually in the form of computer programs or planned events. However, operators largely use simulations to train personnel in certain skills or responses. To help make the VerDate jul<14>2003 16:54 Jun 14, 2005 Jkt 205001 point that operators may use simulations for training required by new §§ 192.805(h) and 195.505(h), we referred to ‘‘simulations’’ as ‘‘training by simulation.’’ In doing so, PHMSA did not intend to imply that if operators use simulations to evaluate qualifications, they must use training simulations. Nevertheless, since this comment concerns a statement we made about existing rules rather than a new rule established by the DFR, PHMSA does not consider the comment to be an adverse comment. Comment: With respect to the new training rules (§§ 192.805(h) and 195.505(h)), DJL Services questioned the preamble statement that ‘‘OPS does not intend this new program requirement to mean operators must pay for training provided by their programs.’’ The commenter said this statement seemed at odds with the requirement that operators’ qualification programs must provide training, and said it would cause confusion and make the rules ineffective. Response: PHMSA made the statement in anticipation of future questions about whether operators may charge their personnel for any training they receive. Our safety regulatory authority does not include authority to decide who should ultimately stand the expense of compliance with safety standards operators must meet. Other agencies, such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and State pipeline regulatory authorities, deal with financial issues through rate regulation. The expense of services operators provide their personnel may also be the subject of agreements negotiated with employees or contractors. Although the new training rules obligate operators to provide for training in their qualification programs, the rules do not obligate operators to stand the expense of training personnel may receive. Because this comment relates to a financial matter outside the purview of our regulatory authority and does not affect operators’ compliance obligations, PHMSA does not consider the comment to be an adverse comment. Comment: DJL Services also commented on the new rules that require operators to notify PHMSA or a State pipeline safety authority of significant changes to qualification programs that have been verified to be in compliance (§§ 192.805(i) and 195.505(i)). The commenter pointed out that PHMSA typically does not inform operators about the results of program audits unless the program needs to be revised. This lack of positive feedback, DJL Services said, would make the notification requirements ineffective. PO 00000 Frm 00068 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Response: As stated in the DFR, PHMSA and State pipeline safety authorities periodically review operators’ programs to verify that they comply with applicable requirements. After completing a review, the operator is informed of any probable violation or any revision its program needs. Positive feedback is not required by the statute or regulations, and PHMSA does not think it is needed for the new notification rules to be effective. The new rules merely provide PHMSA and State authorities an opportunity to review significant program modifications in advance of the next routine review. Regardless of the results of the last review, PHMSA and State authorities still need notices of significant program changes to decide whether to review them ahead of the next routine review. So to comply with §§ 192.805(i) and 195.505(i), operators must notify PHMSA or State authorities of each significant modification made after the initial program review—which for most programs has already occurred. Because this comment does not suggest that the rules themselves should be changed to be effective, we do not consider the comment to be an adverse comment. Comment: In another comment on the notification rules (§§ 192.805(i) and 195.505(i)), DJL Services questioned the time within which operators must notify PHMSA or a State authority after making a significant program modification. DJL Services suggested that adding a 60-day time limit to the rules would make them more effective. Response: We intended the notification rules to parallel requirements Congress had previously imposed on operators. (See 49 U.S.C. 60131(e)(4)). Since those requirements do not set a time limit on notifications, neither do the notification rules. However, in the absence of a specific time limit, a reasonable time for compliance is implied. At this stage of experience, PHMSA thinks it is premature to tell whether a more specific time limit is needed. PHMSA has not adopted DJL Services’s suggestion to add a 60-day time limit to the rules. Because the comment did not explain that the rules would be ineffective or unacceptable without a more specific time limit, PHMSA does not consider the comment to be an adverse comment. Comment: The last comment DJL Services made about the notification rules was that ‘‘significant’’ should be defined to add clarity to the rules. Response: Sections 192.805(i) and 195.505(i) use the term ‘‘significantly modifies’’ because the parallel statutory E:\FR\FM\15JNR1.SGM 15JNR1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 114 / Wednesday, June 15, 2005 / Rules and Regulations requirement uses that term. (See 49 U.S.C. 60131(e)(4)). PHMSA thinks that within the context of the rules, ‘‘significant’’ has the usual meaning of extensive or important and needs no special definition. The term provides the leeway needed to avoid notices of minor changes but calls attention to changes worth governmental review. PHMSA does not consider this comment to be an adverse comment because the comment does not explain that the rules would be ineffective or unacceptable without a definition of significant. Comment: DJL Services said §§ 192.809(e) and 195.509(e), which provide that observation of on-the-job performance may not be the sole method of evaluating an individual’s qualifications, were inappropriate because they restrict one of the more valid methods of measuring skills. The commenter also argued the rules imply that sole use of a written or oral exam is acceptable even if observation of an individual’s performance is the best method of evaluation. Response: The rules in §§ 192.809(e) and 195.509(e) parallel the statutory requirement in 49 U.S.C. 60131(d)(1), which restricts the use of on-the-job performance as a sole evaluation method. In effect, the rules do nothing more than minimize confusion by keeping the personnel qualification regulations in step with the statutory requirement. PHMSA has no discretion to change the statutory requirement, even if PHMSA considered it inappropriate. Also, operators are required to ‘‘ensure through evaluation that individuals performing covered tasks are qualified’’ (§§ 192.805(b) and 195.505(b)). The acceptability of using an exam as the sole evaluation method depends on whether the exam alone is sufficient to determine an individual’s qualifications for the task concerned. PHMSA does not think the restriction on observation of on-the-job performance is in any way related to this acceptability decision. Because this comment did not recognize the parallel statutory requirement and that sole use of an exam as an evaluation method is governed by a separate requirement, PHMSA considers the comment to be insubstantial and thus not an adverse comment. Comment: In a further comment on §§ 192.809(e) and 195.509(e), DJL Services suggested that the term ‘‘onthe-job performance’’ is not universally understood and should be defined in the regulations. Response: Operators who use observation of on-the-job performance as a method of evaluation must describe the method in their personnel VerDate jul<14>2003 16:54 Jun 14, 2005 Jkt 205001 qualification programs. If PHMSA or a State authority considers an operator’s program inadequate, it may order changes to the program. In our experience, this regulatory approach has been satisfactory. It allows operators leeway to account for variations in covered tasks that a special definition could restrain, while providing for governmental oversight. At this time, PHMSA does not see a need to adopt a special definition of on-the-job performance. Since this comment does not explain that the rules would be ineffective without a definition, PHMSA does not consider this comment to be an adverse comment. Comment: Finally, DJL Services offered general comments on criteria PHMSA might develop to determine covered tasks for which observation of on-the-job performance is the best method of evaluation. Under 49 U.S.C. 60131(d)(1), such tasks would be exempt from the statutory restriction on using observation of on-the-job performance as the sole method of evaluation. DJL Services suggested that observation of on-the-job performance is a suitable method for any task that requires a skill to perform. An additional suggestion was that for complex tasks involving potential hazards, such as pig launching or receiving, observation of performance ‘‘ whether on-the-job or during simulation ‘‘should be mandatory, with limited use of written or oral exams. Response: PHMSA will consider these ideas in any future deliberation on criteria to determine those tasks for which observation of on-the-job performance is the best method of evaluation. However, PHMSA does not consider the comment to be an adverse comment because it does not explain that a change is needed to a rule established by the DFR. Therefore, this document confirms that the DFR will go into effect on July 15, 2005. Issued in Washington, DC, on June 10, 2005. Stacey L. Gerard, Acting Assistant Administrator/Chief Safety Officer. [FR Doc. 05–11864 Filed 6–13–05; 8:52 am] BILLING CODE 4910–60–P PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 34695 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 21 RIN 1018–AT63 Migratory Bird Permits; Determination That Falconry Regulations for the State of Connecticut Meet Federal Standards AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Final rule. SUMMARY: We add the state of Connecticut to the list of states whose falconry laws meet or exceed Federal falconry standards. We have reviewed the Connecticut falconry regulations and public comments on the proposed rule to add Connecticut to the list of states with approved falconry regulations. We have concluded that the Connecticut falconry regulations are in compliance with the regulations governing falconry at 50 CFR 21.28 and 21.29. This action will enable citizens to apply for Federal and state falconry permits and to practice falconry in Connecticut. DATES: This rule is effective June 15, 2005. The complete file for this rule is available for public inspection, by appointment, at the Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4501 North Fairfax Drive, Room 4091, Arlington, Virginia 22203–1610. ADDRESSES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Millsap, Chief, Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 703–358–1714; Dr. George Allen, Wildlife Biologist, 703– 358–1825; or Diane Pence, Regional Migratory Bird Coordinator, Hadley, Massachusetts, 413–253–8577. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Why Is This Rulemaking Needed? The need for the change to 50 CFR 21.29(k) arose from the desire of the state of Connecticut to institute a falconry program for the benefit of citizens interested in the sport of falconry. Accordingly, the state promulgated regulations that we have concluded meet the Federal requirements protecting migratory birds. The change to 50 CFR 21.29(k) is necessary to allow persons in the state of Connecticut to practice falconry under the regulations the state submitted for approval. E:\FR\FM\15JNR1.SGM 15JNR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 114 (Wednesday, June 15, 2005)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 34693-34695]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-11864]


=======================================================================
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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

49 CFR Parts 192 and 195

[Docket No. RSPA-03-15734; Amdt. 192-100, 195-84]
RIN 2137-AD95


Pipeline Safety: Operator Qualifications; Statutory Changes

AGENCY: Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS), Pipeline and Hazardous 
Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), DOT.

ACTION: Direct final rule; confirmation of effective date.

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

SUMMARY: This document confirms the effective date of the direct final 
rule published in the Federal Register on March 3, 2005. The direct 
final rule amended regulations that require operators of gas and 
hazardous liquid pipelines to conduct programs to evaluate the 
qualifications of individuals who perform certain safety-related tasks 
on pipelines.

DATES: The direct final rule published March 3, 2005, goes into effect 
July 15, 2005.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: L.M. Furrow by phone at 202-366-4559, 
by fax at 202-366-4566, by mail at U.S. Department of Transportation, 
400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590, or by e-mail at 
buck.furrow@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On March 3, 2005, PHMSA published a Direct 
Final Rule (DFR) titled ``Pipeline Safety: Operator Qualifications; 
Statutory Changes'' (70 FR 10332). The DFR amended the personnel 
qualification regulations in 49 CFR part 192, subpart N, and 49 CFR 
part 195, subpart G, which require operators of gas and hazardous 
liquid pipelines to conduct programs for evaluating the qualifications 
of pipeline personnel. The amendments conformed the regulations to 
program changes contained in section 13 of the Pipeline Safety 
Improvement Act of 2002 (49 U.S.C. 60131). These statutory changes 
concern personnel training, notice of significant program changes, 
governmental review and verification of

[[Page 34694]]

operators' programs, and using observation of on-the-job performance as 
the sole method of evaluating qualifications.
    In the DFR, PHMSA stated that if it did not receive an adverse 
comment, as defined in 49 CFR 190.339(c), or notice of intent to file 
an adverse comment by May 2, 2005, it would publish a confirmation 
document to announce that the DFR would go into effect on July 1, 2005, 
or at least 30 days after the confirmation document is published, 
whichever is later.
    PHMSA received two comments on the DFR. One commenter made general 
remarks about PHMSA's pipeline safety program, and the other commenter, 
DJL Services, had more specific comments. The comments are summarized 
below.
    Comment: One commenter said that because severe pipeline explosions 
are causing deaths and injuries, program upgrades are needed, including 
higher penalties and more inspection visits for negligent pipeline 
operations.
    Response: We are upgrading various aspects of our pipeline safety 
program. One important upgrade involves regulation of personnel 
qualifications and work with the American Society of Mechanical 
Engineers to create a national consensus standard on qualification of 
operator personnel. In addition, maximum penalties for violations of 
safety standards were recently increased, and we continue to focus 
inspections on operators that fail to give proper attention to 
compliance. Nevertheless, because this comment addresses pipeline 
safety in general rather than a new rule established by the DFR, we do 
not consider the comment to be an adverse comment.
    Comment: DJL Services took issue with the preamble statement that 
``observation of * * * training by simulation'' is an allowable 
evaluation method (see 70 FR 10334). The commenter argued that in 49 
U.S.C. 60131(d)(1) Congress referred to ``simulations'' as a stand-
alone method of examining or testing, and that calling simulations 
``training by simulation'' will result in an inappropriate application 
of the law.
    Response: Both the statute (49 U.S.C. 60131(d)(1)) and existing 
regulations (49 CFR 192.803 and 195.503) cite ``observation during * * 
* simulations'' as an acceptable method of evaluating personnel 
qualifications. The ``simulations'' to be observed involve personnel 
experiencing mock pipeline conditions, usually in the form of computer 
programs or planned events. However, operators largely use simulations 
to train personnel in certain skills or responses. To help make the 
point that operators may use simulations for training required by new 
Sec. Sec.  192.805(h) and 195.505(h), we referred to ``simulations'' as 
``training by simulation.'' In doing so, PHMSA did not intend to imply 
that if operators use simulations to evaluate qualifications, they must 
use training simulations. Nevertheless, since this comment concerns a 
statement we made about existing rules rather than a new rule 
established by the DFR, PHMSA does not consider the comment to be an 
adverse comment.
    Comment: With respect to the new training rules (Sec. Sec.  
192.805(h) and 195.505(h)), DJL Services questioned the preamble 
statement that ``OPS does not intend this new program requirement to 
mean operators must pay for training provided by their programs.'' The 
commenter said this statement seemed at odds with the requirement that 
operators' qualification programs must provide training, and said it 
would cause confusion and make the rules ineffective.
    Response: PHMSA made the statement in anticipation of future 
questions about whether operators may charge their personnel for any 
training they receive. Our safety regulatory authority does not include 
authority to decide who should ultimately stand the expense of 
compliance with safety standards operators must meet. Other agencies, 
such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and State pipeline 
regulatory authorities, deal with financial issues through rate 
regulation. The expense of services operators provide their personnel 
may also be the subject of agreements negotiated with employees or 
contractors. Although the new training rules obligate operators to 
provide for training in their qualification programs, the rules do not 
obligate operators to stand the expense of training personnel may 
receive. Because this comment relates to a financial matter outside the 
purview of our regulatory authority and does not affect operators' 
compliance obligations, PHMSA does not consider the comment to be an 
adverse comment.
    Comment: DJL Services also commented on the new rules that require 
operators to notify PHMSA or a State pipeline safety authority of 
significant changes to qualification programs that have been verified 
to be in compliance (Sec. Sec.  192.805(i) and 195.505(i)). The 
commenter pointed out that PHMSA typically does not inform operators 
about the results of program audits unless the program needs to be 
revised. This lack of positive feedback, DJL Services said, would make 
the notification requirements ineffective.
    Response: As stated in the DFR, PHMSA and State pipeline safety 
authorities periodically review operators' programs to verify that they 
comply with applicable requirements. After completing a review, the 
operator is informed of any probable violation or any revision its 
program needs. Positive feedback is not required by the statute or 
regulations, and PHMSA does not think it is needed for the new 
notification rules to be effective. The new rules merely provide PHMSA 
and State authorities an opportunity to review significant program 
modifications in advance of the next routine review. Regardless of the 
results of the last review, PHMSA and State authorities still need 
notices of significant program changes to decide whether to review them 
ahead of the next routine review. So to comply with Sec. Sec.  
192.805(i) and 195.505(i), operators must notify PHMSA or State 
authorities of each significant modification made after the initial 
program review--which for most programs has already occurred. Because 
this comment does not suggest that the rules themselves should be 
changed to be effective, we do not consider the comment to be an 
adverse comment.
    Comment: In another comment on the notification rules (Sec. Sec.  
192.805(i) and 195.505(i)), DJL Services questioned the time within 
which operators must notify PHMSA or a State authority after making a 
significant program modification. DJL Services suggested that adding a 
60-day time limit to the rules would make them more effective.
    Response: We intended the notification rules to parallel 
requirements Congress had previously imposed on operators. (See 49 
U.S.C. 60131(e)(4)). Since those requirements do not set a time limit 
on notifications, neither do the notification rules. However, in the 
absence of a specific time limit, a reasonable time for compliance is 
implied. At this stage of experience, PHMSA thinks it is premature to 
tell whether a more specific time limit is needed. PHMSA has not 
adopted DJL Services's suggestion to add a 60-day time limit to the 
rules. Because the comment did not explain that the rules would be 
ineffective or unacceptable without a more specific time limit, PHMSA 
does not consider the comment to be an adverse comment.
    Comment: The last comment DJL Services made about the notification 
rules was that ``significant'' should be defined to add clarity to the 
rules.
    Response: Sections 192.805(i) and 195.505(i) use the term 
``significantly modifies'' because the parallel statutory

[[Page 34695]]

requirement uses that term. (See 49 U.S.C. 60131(e)(4)). PHMSA thinks 
that within the context of the rules, ``significant'' has the usual 
meaning of extensive or important and needs no special definition. The 
term provides the leeway needed to avoid notices of minor changes but 
calls attention to changes worth governmental review. PHMSA does not 
consider this comment to be an adverse comment because the comment does 
not explain that the rules would be ineffective or unacceptable without 
a definition of significant.
    Comment: DJL Services said Sec. Sec.  192.809(e) and 195.509(e), 
which provide that observation of on-the-job performance may not be the 
sole method of evaluating an individual's qualifications, were 
inappropriate because they restrict one of the more valid methods of 
measuring skills. The commenter also argued the rules imply that sole 
use of a written or oral exam is acceptable even if observation of an 
individual's performance is the best method of evaluation.
    Response: The rules in Sec. Sec.  192.809(e) and 195.509(e) 
parallel the statutory requirement in 49 U.S.C. 60131(d)(1), which 
restricts the use of on-the-job performance as a sole evaluation 
method. In effect, the rules do nothing more than minimize confusion by 
keeping the personnel qualification regulations in step with the 
statutory requirement. PHMSA has no discretion to change the statutory 
requirement, even if PHMSA considered it inappropriate. Also, operators 
are required to ``ensure through evaluation that individuals performing 
covered tasks are qualified'' (Sec. Sec.  192.805(b) and 195.505(b)). 
The acceptability of using an exam as the sole evaluation method 
depends on whether the exam alone is sufficient to determine an 
individual's qualifications for the task concerned. PHMSA does not 
think the restriction on observation of on-the-job performance is in 
any way related to this acceptability decision. Because this comment 
did not recognize the parallel statutory requirement and that sole use 
of an exam as an evaluation method is governed by a separate 
requirement, PHMSA considers the comment to be insubstantial and thus 
not an adverse comment.
    Comment: In a further comment on Sec. Sec.  192.809(e) and 
195.509(e), DJL Services suggested that the term ``on-the-job 
performance'' is not universally understood and should be defined in 
the regulations.
    Response: Operators who use observation of on-the-job performance 
as a method of evaluation must describe the method in their personnel 
qualification programs. If PHMSA or a State authority considers an 
operator's program inadequate, it may order changes to the program. In 
our experience, this regulatory approach has been satisfactory. It 
allows operators leeway to account for variations in covered tasks that 
a special definition could restrain, while providing for governmental 
oversight. At this time, PHMSA does not see a need to adopt a special 
definition of on-the-job performance. Since this comment does not 
explain that the rules would be ineffective without a definition, PHMSA 
does not consider this comment to be an adverse comment.
    Comment: Finally, DJL Services offered general comments on criteria 
PHMSA might develop to determine covered tasks for which observation of 
on-the-job performance is the best method of evaluation. Under 49 
U.S.C. 60131(d)(1), such tasks would be exempt from the statutory 
restriction on using observation of on-the-job performance as the sole 
method of evaluation. DJL Services suggested that observation of on-
the-job performance is a suitable method for any task that requires a 
skill to perform. An additional suggestion was that for complex tasks 
involving potential hazards, such as pig launching or receiving, 
observation of performance `` whether on-the-job or during simulation 
`` should be mandatory, with limited use of written or oral exams.
    Response: PHMSA will consider these ideas in any future 
deliberation on criteria to determine those tasks for which observation 
of on-the-job performance is the best method of evaluation. However, 
PHMSA does not consider the comment to be an adverse comment because it 
does not explain that a change is needed to a rule established by the 
DFR.
    Therefore, this document confirms that the DFR will go into effect 
on July 15, 2005.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on June 10, 2005.
Stacey L. Gerard,
Acting Assistant Administrator/Chief Safety Officer.
[FR Doc. 05-11864 Filed 6-13-05; 8:52 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-60-P