Revision of Regulations To Require Reporting of Damage to Natural Gas Pipeline Facilities, 35226-35230 [E6-9419]

Download as PDF 35226 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 117 / Monday, June 19, 2006 / Proposed Rules describes in more detail the scope of the agency’s authority. This rulemaking is promulgated under the authority described in Subtitle VII, Part A, Subpart 1, Section 40103, Sovereignty and use of airspace. Under that section, the FAA is charged with prescribing regulations to ensure the safe and efficient use of the navigable airspace. This regulation is within the scope of that authority because it proposes to create Class E airspace sufficient in size to contain aircraft executing instrument procedures at Barter Island Airport and represents the FAA’s continuing effort to safely and efficiently use the navigable airspace. List of Subjects in 14 CFR Part 71 Airspace, Incorporation by reference, Navigation (air). The Proposed Amendment In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation Administration proposes to amend 14 CFR part 71 as follows: PART 71—DESIGNATION OF CLASS A, CLASS B, CLASS C, CLASS D, AND CLASS E AIRSPACE AREAS; AIRWAYS; ROUTES; AND REPORTING POINTS 1. The authority citation for 14 CFR part 71 continues to read as follows: Authority: 49 U.S.C. 106(g), 40103, 40113, 40120; E.O. 10854, 24 FR 9565, 3 CFR, 1959– 1963 Comp., p. 389. § 71.1 [Amended] 2. The incorporation by reference in 14 CFR 71.1 of Federal Aviation Administration Order 7400.9N, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points, dated September 1, 2005, and effective September 15, 2005, is to be amended as follows: * * * * * Paragraph 6005 Class E airspace extending upward from 700 feet or more above the surface of the earth. * * * wwhite on PROD1PC61 with PROPOSALS AAL AK E5 * * Barter Island, AK [Revised] Barter Island Airport, AK (Lat. 70°08′02″ N., long. 143°34′55″ W.) That airspace extending upward from 700 feet above the surface within a 4.7-mile radius of the Barter Island Airport; and that airspace extending upward from 1,200 feet above the surface within a 83-mile radius of Barter Island Airport, excluding that airspace east of 141° West Longitude. * * * VerDate Aug<31>2005 * * 18:57 Jun 16, 2006 Jkt 208001 Issued in Anchorage, AK, on June 8, 2006. Anthony M. Wylie, Director, Flight Service Information Office (AK). [FR Doc. E6–9589 Filed 6–16–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 18 CFR Part 260 [Docket No. RM06–18–000] Revision of Regulations To Require Reporting of Damage to Natural Gas Pipeline Facilities Issued June 9, 2006. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, DOE. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking. AGENCY: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) proposes to amend its regulations requiring the reporting of natural gas pipeline service interruptions to add a requirement that jurisdictional natural gas pipelines report damage to pipeline facilities that results in loss of or reduction in service through such facilities, and when service through such facilities has been restored. The Commission also proposes to amend its regulations to eliminate references to reporting by telegraph and to require reporting by e-mail or, as currently provided, by facsimile. The Commission further proposes to amend its regulations to change, from 20 to 30 days, the time by which a company must file with the Commission a copy of any incident report required by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Commission invites public comments on these proposed revisions, which the Commission has determined are needed to ensure timely identification of damage to the nation’s natural gas infrastructure as the result of hurricanes or other causes. DATES: Comments are due July 19, 2006. ADDRESSES: Comments may be filed electronically via the eFiling link on the Commission’s Web site at http:// www.ferc.gov. The Commission encourages electronic filing. Commenters unable to file comments electronically must send an original and 14 copies of their comments to: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. Refer to the Comment Procedures section of SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 the preamble for additional information on how to file comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Berne Mosley, Office of Energy Projects, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426. berne.mosley@ferc.gov. (202) 502– 8625. Howard Wheeler, Office of Energy Projects, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426. howard.wheeler@ferc.gov. (202) 502– 8688. William Blome, Office of the General Counsel, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426. william.blome@ferc.gov. (202) 502– 8462. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Introduction 1. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is proposing to amend section 260.9 of its regulations.1 Currently, section 260.9 requires that a natural gas company submit a report only when it experiences a serious service interruption involving facilities operated under certificate authority granted by the Commission under the Natural Gas Act (Act).2 However, in situations where natural gas pipeline facilities are damaged, service interruptions can sometimes be avoided by rerouting gas supplies through other facilities or by means of other delivery arrangements. In these situations, section 260.9 does not presently require that companies report the damage to their pipeline facilities. 2. Even when arrangements can be made to avoid service interruptions as the result of damage to specific pipeline facilities, such damage can nevertheless place a strain on the nation’s natural gas infrastructure. Widespread, severe damage can seriously threaten the stability of the infrastructure. The damage done by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf Coast area in late summer 2005 was widespread and severe. Offshore energy production was shut-in; pipelines, power lines, and other means of energy transportation were seriously damaged; and other important parts of the energy infrastructure system, such as natural gas processing plants, were closed. Hurricane recovery efforts are still ongoing.3 1 18 CFR 260.9 (2005). U.S.C. 717–717z (2006). 3 As of May 3, 2006, shut-in gas production in the Gulf of Mexico from the two hurricanes was 2 15 E:\FR\FM\19JNP1.SGM 19JNP1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 117 / Monday, June 19, 2006 / Proposed Rules wwhite on PROD1PC61 with PROPOSALS 3. Before, during, and after the hurricanes, the U.S. Department of Energy led the federal effort to collect energy infrastructure information in accordance with the National Response Plan.4 As a participant in this effort, the Commission became aware that, while jurisdictional companies had kept the Commission informed of service interruptions as required by section 260.9 of the regulations, vital information regarding the physical condition of facilities affecting operation of the pipeline grid remained unknown to the Commission. This was generally attributable to the following factors: (1) Only interruptions of firm service lasting more than three hours were required to be reported; (2) service requirements are generally lower during the ‘‘shoulder’’ months of September through November; (3) pipelines and shippers were able to adjust nomination schedules; and (4) pipelines were able to make operational changes to meet firm service obligations, such as by rerouting flows and drawing upon storage volumes. The Commission took ad hoc steps at that time to collect information regarding the operational status of natural gas pipeline facilities, including informally requesting pipeline companies to report on all damaged facilities and service interruptions, and requesting industry groups, such as the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) and the American Gas Association (AGA), to report on the condition of infrastructure. 4. In order to encourage rapid restoration of service, the Commission took a number of actions, including temporarily raising cost limits and including mainline facilities within the definition of eligible facilities that may be constructed by natural gas companies under their part 157, subpart F blanket certificates; 5 granting waivers on a caseequivalent to 12.95% of current daily gas production. Hurricane Katrina/Hurricane Rita Evacuation and Production Shut-in Statistics Report as of Wednesday, May 3, 2006 [Final Report], U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals Management Service (May 3, 2006). 4 Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)–5, issued February 28, 2003, directed the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop a National Response Plan establishing a comprehensive all-hazards approach to enhance the ability of the United States to manage domestic incidents. The National Response Plan issued in December 2004 includes protocols to help protect and restore critical infrastructure and key resources. Further information is provided on Homeland Security Web site at http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/ interapp/editorial/editorial_0566.xml. 5 Expediting Infrastructure Construction to Speed Hurricane Recovery, 113 FERC ¶ 61,169 (2005). On February 22, 2006, the Commission extended until February 28, 2007, the time by which blanket certificate facilities constructed pursuant to these VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:57 Jun 16, 2006 Jkt 208001 by-case basis 6 of the 120-day limit and other conditions in the part 284, subpart L emergency regulations; 7 and granting waivers of tariff provisions to allow delivery of gas at alternative points when the usual delivery points were out of service from hurricane damage.8 5. As described above, the Commission has regulations in place and can grant appropriate waivers for natural gas companies to undertake necessary construction activities in crisis situations. However, the Commission’s current reporting requirements are not adequate to permit a reliable ‘‘snapshot’’ of the natural gas infrastructure at any given time.9 This inadequacy can be addressed by amending section 260.9 to require that jurisdictional companies report any damage to facilities that limits service through those facilities, regardless whether service can be maintained by rerouting gas supplies through other facilities or by other means. The approaching hurricane season or other events such an earthquake or terrorist attack could result in damage to essential natural gas facilities or make it necessary to evacuate the pipeline personnel essential to the operation of such facilities. The Commission needs to ensure that it will have adequate information to assess the status of the waivers must be placed into service. 114 FERC ¶ 61,186 (2006). The Commission’s regulations governing Part 157 blanket certificate activities are set forth at 18 CFR 157.201 et seq. (2005). 6 See, e.g., Discovery Gas Transmission, LLC, 113 FERC ¶ 61,025 (2005). 7 18 CFR 284.261 et seq. (2005). 8 Southern Natural Gas Company, 113 FERC ¶ 61,218 (2005). 9 In particular, a pipeline is only required to make an annual report of its construction activities under the automatic provisions of the blanket certificate regulations in part 157, subpart F. Section 157.207 of the regulations requires that a pipeline file this annual report on or before May 1 of each year. See 18 CFR 157.207 (2005). Since June 1 is the official start of the hurricane season, almost an entire year can pass before a pipeline is required by section 157.207 to report construction activities in response to hurricane damage under its part 157 blanket certificate. Further, the information provided in these annual reports is not sufficient to determine whether a particular blanket certificate construction was undertaken due to damage to facilities resulting from a hurricane or other cause. In addition, while the emergency regulations in part 284, subpart, 18 CFR 284.261 et seq, require that the commencement of an emergency transportation, sale or exchange transaction be reported within 48 hours, the emergency regulations do not require the reporting of damage to facilities that may have made the emergency transaction necessary or reporting regarding facilities constructed to address the emergency. Thus, even if permanent authority to operate emergency facilities is later sought either under the temporary certificate provisions of section 157.17 or under the part 157 blanket certificate prior notice provisions, as suggested under the definition of ‘‘emergency facilities’’ in section 284.262, information regarding any damaged facilities may be inadequate or not known for some time. PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 35227 nation’s gas infrastructure at any given time and communicate such information to other agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Transportation. Accordingly, the Commission is proposing to revise its reporting requirements in section 260.9 of the regulations, as described below. II. Summary of Proposed Regulations 6. Section 260.9(a) currently requires that natural gas companies report serious service interruptions. The proposed regulations would add a new requirement that natural gas companies report (1) damage to certificated natural gas facilities that results in loss of or reduction in service through such facilities, and (2) when service through such facilities has been restored. 7. Section 260.9(b) would be amended to remove the reference to ‘‘telegraph’’ and to require that natural gas companies make required reports of interruptions to service or damage to facilities by e-mail or, as currently provided for in section 260.9(b), facsimile transmission.10 All reports shall be due at the earliest feasible time after an interruption of service or damage to pipeline facilities for which a report is required. 8. The information requirement of section 260.9(b) also would be revised to reflect the addition of the proposed new requirement that natural gas companies report damage to facilities and subsequently report when full service through such facilities has been restored. As revised, section 260.9(b) would require that a report of service interruption or damage to natural gas facilities state: (1) The location and cause of the service interruption or damage to pipeline or other certificated natural gas facilities; (2) The nature of any damage to natural gas facilities; (3) Specific identification of any natural gas facilities damaged; (4) The time the service interruption or damage to natural gas facilities occurred; (5) The customers affected by the service interruption or damage to natural gas facilities; (6) Emergency actions taken to maintain service; and 10 On May 27, 2005, the Commission issued a notice of proposed rulemaking in Docket No. RM05–12–000 which proposed, inter alia, to remove references to ‘‘telegraph’’ from section 260.9. See Modification of Natural Gas Reporting Regulations, 111 FERC ¶ 61,280 (2005). Adoption of this notice of proposed rulemaking’s proposal to remove references to ‘‘telegraph’’ would supersede the proposal in Docket No. RM05–12–000 to revise section 260.9. E:\FR\FM\19JNP1.SGM 19JNP1 35228 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 117 / Monday, June 19, 2006 / Proposed Rules (7) Company contact and telephone number. 9. Section 260.9(b) also would be revised to require that a company make a subsequent report stating when full service through damaged natural gas facilities has been restored. 10. Section 260.9(d) would be revised to change, from 20 days to 30 days following a service interruption or damage to facilities, the time within which a natural gas pipeline company must furnish to the Commission a copy of any incident report required by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s reporting requirements under the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968.11 This revision is proposed because the U.S. Department of Transportation provides up to 30 days for incident reports to be made. 11. Section 260.9(e) currently requires that a company send copies of reports of service interruptions to state commissions. Section 260.9(e) would be revised by adding a new requirement that a company also must send state commissions copies of required reports of damage to facilities. wwhite on PROD1PC61 with PROPOSALS III. Environmental Analysis 12. The Commission is required to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for any action that may have a significant adverse effect on the human environment.12 No environmental consideration is raised by the promulgation of a rule that is procedural in nature or does not substantially change the effect of legislation or regulations being amended.13 13. The regulations proposed herein would make relatively minor changes to the type of information to be provided to the Commission by pipeline companies and the way in which it is provided, and would slightly alter the timeframe (by giving the companies more time) in which the copy of the incident report required to be filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation must be filed with the Commission. The modified procedures would not substantially change the regulatory requirements to which the pipeline companies are currently subject. Accordingly, preparation of an environmental document is not required. 11 49 U.S.C. 60101 et seq. No. 486, Regulations Implementing the National Environmental Policy Act, 52 FR 47897 (December 17, 1987), FERC Stats. & Regs. Preambles 1986–1990 ¶ 30,783 (1987). 13 18 CFR 380.4(a)(2)(ii) (2005). 12 Order VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:57 Jun 16, 2006 Jkt 208001 IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act Statement 14. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) 14 generally requires a description and analysis of final rules that will have significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The Commission is not required to make such an analysis if proposed regulations would not have such an effect. Under the industry standards used for the RFA, a natural gas pipeline company qualifies as ‘‘a small entity’’ if it has annual receipts of $6.5 million or less. 15. Most companies regulated by the Commission do not fall within the RFA’s definition of a small entity.15 Approximately 114 natural gas companies are potentially subject to the additional requirements proposed by this notice. For the year 2004 (the most recent year for which information is available), 32 of these companies had annual revenues of less than $6.5 million. Of these 32 companies, 23 were non-major gas companies. 16. As discussed above, section 260.9 of the regulations already requires natural gas companies to report serious service interruptions. Frequently, service interruptions are due to damage to facilities. Thus, the proposed new reporting requirements will only increase the number of reports that a company is required to file to the extent that damage to facilities does not result in a loss of or reduction in service. Further, the required information will already be known and identified by companies and can be submitted either by e-mail or facsimile. 17. In view of these considerations, the Commission hereby certifies that this notice’s proposed amendments to the regulations, if promulgated, will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. V. Information Collection Statement 18. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations require that OMB approve certain reporting, record keeping, and public disclosure (collections of information) requirements imposed by federal agencies.16 Pursuant to OMB 14 5 U.S.C. 601–612. U.S.C. 601(3), citing section 3 of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 623. Section 3 of the SBA defines a ‘‘small business concern’’ as a business which is independently owned and operated and which is not dominant in its field of operation. The Small Business Size Standards component of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) defines a small natural gas pipeline company as one that transports natural gas and whose annual receipts (total income plus cost of goods sold) did not exceed $6.5 million for the preceding year. 13 CFR 121.201. 16 5 CFR 1320.11 (2005). 15 5 PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 regulations, the Commission is providing notice of its proposed information collection to OMB for review under section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA).17 19. As stated above, section 260.9 of the regulations already requires natural gas companies to report serious service interruptions. Frequently, service interruptions are due to damage to facilities. Thus, while the proposed new requirements will require reports of damage to facilities and subsequent reports of restoration of service, the proposed regulations will only increase the number of reports that a company is required to file to the extent that damage to facilities does not result in a loss of or reduction in service. 20. Further, information regarding damage to facilities will be readily ascertainable by companies and can be submitted either by e-mail or facsimile. The current provisions of section 260.9 provide for reports only by telegraph or facsimile. Telegraph is no longer a feasible option. Therefore, the proposed regulations require the companies to provide reports by facsimile or e-mail. Such electronic submission of information will reduce the number of data entry errors, permit Commission staff to conduct analysis in a timely manner, and provide for the storage of information on digital storage media. 21. Electronic filing saves time and resources for all parties since electronic filings require fewer personnel than paper filings by avoiding the need for paper processing and mailing. The integrity of the information should increase because jurisdictional entities and the Commission will be able to correct errors more promptly. 22. The Commission also expects that the requirements prescribed here will reduce the burden on the industry of reporting similar or identical information to multiple sources, since information collected by the Commission can be requested from the Commission by other agencies with a need for such information. For example, as discussed above, following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Commission was called upon the U. S. Department of Energy for assistance in collecting energy infrastructure information in accordance with the National Response Plan. 23. FERC–576, ‘‘Report of Service Interruptions,’’ identifies the Commission’s information collection relating to part 260, ‘‘Statements and Reports (Schedules),’’ of the regulations which apply to natural gas pipeline 17 44 E:\FR\FM\19JNP1.SGM U.S.C. 3507(d) (2005). 19JNP1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 117 / Monday, June 19, 2006 / Proposed Rules companies having facilities subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction under the Natural Gas Act. The instant notice of proposed rulemaking would require natural gas pipeline companies to report damage to jurisdictional facilities and restoration of service, in addition to the service interruptions already required to be reported. The proposed regulations also would require a company to submit a copy of a damage report to the relevant state agency and to submit to the Commission any incident report required by the U.S. Department of Transportation pursuant to the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968.18 23. Comments are solicited on the Commission’s need for this information, whether the information will have practical utility, the accuracy of the burden estimates provided herein, ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected, and any suggested methods for minimizing respondents’ burden, including the use of automated information technologies. 24. The proposed new reporting requirements require a company to (1) make a report of damage to facilities that results in a loss or reduction of service through those particular facilities; (2) send a copy of the damage report to the relevant state commission; (3) make a follow-up report when full service has been restored through the damaged facilities; and (4) submit a copy of any incident report required by the Department of Transportation’s regulations. 25. The current provisions of section 260.9 allow for significantly damaged facilities to remain unreported when an interruption to service can be avoided. The Commission estimates that the new reporting requirements to fill this gap will result in 15 companies (respondents) being required to make at least one damage report. The 35229 Commission further estimates that the new reporting requirements will result in the submission of 35 damage reports. The Commission estimates that a company will need 75 minutes to prepare and submit a damage report; 15 minutes to submit a copy of the damage report to the relevant state commission; 15 minutes to prepare and submit a follow-up restoration of service report; and 15 minutes to submit a copy of a USDOT incident report. For purposes of preparing burden estimates for this rulemaking, the Commission treats all four of these requirements as one response, with the total time required being two hours. 26. In view of the above, the burden estimates for complying with the additional filing requirements of this rule pursuant to the procedures in proposed amended section 260.9 of the Commission’s regulations are as set forth below: Number of respondents Number of responses Hours per response Total hours FERC–576 ....................................................................................................... wwhite on PROD1PC61 with PROPOSALS Data collection 15 35 2 70 Total Annual Hours for Collection: 70. These are mandatory information collection requirements. Information Collection Costs: Because of the regional differences and the various staffing levels that will be involved in preparing the documentation (legal, technical and support) the Commission is using an hourly rate of $150 to estimate the costs for filing and other administrative processes (reviewing instructions, searching data sources, completing and transmitting the collection of information). The estimated cost is anticipated to be $10,500 (70 hours × $150). Title: FERC 576 ‘‘Report of Service Interruptions.’’ Action: Proposed Information Collection. OMB Control No.: 1902–0004. Respondents: Natural gas companies/ business or other for-profit. Frequency of Responses: On occasion. Necessity of Information: The proposed amended regulation will revise the reporting requirements for service interruptions and damage to facilities involving natural gas pipeline facilities subject to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s jurisdiction. The information filed with the Commission informs it of serious pipeline service interruptions and also 18 49 of damage to the nation’s natural gas infrastructure. The proposed amendment would enhance this information by requiring filers to describe specifically which facilities have been damaged and how the damage occurred. Internal Review: The Commission has assured itself, by means of internal review, that there is specific, objective support for the burden estimates associated with this information requirement. The revisions will provide more complete, effective and useful information to the Commission without significantly increasing the burden to the regulated industry. 27. Interested persons may obtain information on the information requirements by contacting the following: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426 (Attention: Michael Miller, Office of the Executive Director, Phone (202) 502– 8415; FAX (202) 273–0873; e-mail Michael.miller@ferc.gov). 28. For submitting comments concerning the collection of information and the associated burden estimate(s), including suggestions for reducing this burden, please send your comments to the contact listed above and to the Office of Management and Budget, Office of Administrative and Regulatory Affairs, Washington, DC 20503 (Attention: Desk Officer for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Phone (202) 395–4650; FAX (202) 395–7285). VI. Comment Procedures 29. The Commission invites interested persons to submit comments on the matters and issues proposed in this notice to be adopted, including any related matters or alternative proposals that commenters may wish to discuss. Comments are due 30 days after publication of this notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register. Comments must refer to Docket No. RM06–18–000, and must include the commenters’ names, the organization they represent, if applicable, and their address in their comments. Comments may be filed either in electronic or paper format. The Commission encourages electronic filing. 30. Comments may be filed electronically via the eFiling link on the Commission’s Web site at http:// www.ferc.gov. The Commission accepts most standard word processing formats and commenters may attach additional files with supporting information in certain other file formats. Commenters filing electronically do not need to make a paper filing. Commenters unable to file comments electronically must send an original and 14 copies of their U.S.C. Chapter 601. VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:57 Jun 16, 2006 Jkt 208001 PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\19JNP1.SGM 19JNP1 35230 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 117 / Monday, June 19, 2006 / Proposed Rules wwhite on PROD1PC61 with PROPOSALS comments to: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426. 31. All comments will be placed in our public files and may be viewed, printed, or downloaded remotely as described in the Document Availability section below. Commenters are not required to serve copies of their comments on other commenters. § 260.9 Reports by natural gas pipeline companies on service interruptions and damage to facilities. (a) Every natural gas company must report to the Director, Division of Pipeline Certificates, at the earliest feasible time: (1) Damage to any pipeline or other natural gas facilities operated under certificate authorization from the Commission that results in loss of or reduction of service through those VII. Document Availability facilities; and 32. In addition to publishing the full (2) Serious interruptions of service to text of this document in the Federal any shipper involving facilities operated Register, the Commission provides all under certificate authorization from the interested persons an opportunity to Commission. Such serious interruptions view and print the contents of this of service shall include interruptions of document via the Internet through service to communities, major FERC’s Home Page (http://www.ferc.gov) government installations and large and in FERC’s Public Reference Room industrial plants outside of during normal business hours (8:30 a.m. communities or any other interruptions to 5 p.m. Eastern time) at 888 First which are significant in the judgment of Street, NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC the pipeline company. Interruptible 20426. service interrupted in accordance with the provisions of filed tariffs, 33. From FERC’s Home Page on the Internet, this information is available in interruptions of service resulting from planned maintenance or construction the Commission’s document and interruptions of service of less than management system, eLibrary. The full three hours duration need not be text of this document is available in reported. eLibrary in PDF and Microsoft Word format for viewing, printing, and (b) Any report of service interruption downloading. To access this document or damage to facilities required by in eLibrary, type the docket number paragraph (a) of this section must be excluding the last three digits of this submitted by the natural gas company document in the docket number field. by e-mail to pipelineoutage@ferc.gov or by facsimile transmission to the 34. User assistance is available for eLibrary and the FERC’s Web site during Director, Division of Pipeline Certificates, Office of Energy Projects at normal business hours from our Help FAX number (202) 208–2853. line at (202) 502–8222 or the Public Reference Room at (202) 502–8371 Press (1) Reports shall be made at the 0, TTY (202) 502–8659. E-mail the earliest feasible time after an Public Reference Room at interruption of service or damage to public.referenceroom@ferc.gov. pipeline facilities for which a report is required, and must state: List of Subjects in 18 CFR Part 260 (i) The location and cause of the Natural gas, Reporting and service interruption or damage to recordkeeping requirements. pipeline or other natural gas facilities; (ii) The nature of any damage to By direction of the Commission. natural gas facilities; Magalie R. Salas, (iii) Specific identification of any Secretary. facilities damaged; In consideration of the foregoing, the (iv) The time the service interruption Commission proposes to amend part or damage to facilities occurred; 260 of Chapter I, Title 18, Code of (v) The customers affected by the Federal Regulations, as follows: service interruption or damage to PART 260—STATEMENTS AND facilities; REPORTS (SCHEDULES) (vi) Emergency actions taken to maintain service; and 1. The authority citation for part 260 (vii) Company contact and telephone continues to read as follows: number. Authority: 15 U.S.C. 717–717w, 3301– (2) Following a report of damage to 3432; 42 U.S.C. 7101–7352. natural gas facilities resulting in loss of or reduction of service through those 2. Section 260.9 is amended by facilities, the natural gas company shall revising the section heading and report to the Director, Division of paragraphs (a), (b), (d), and (e) to read Pipeline Certificates, at the earliest as follows: VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:57 Jun 16, 2006 Jkt 208001 PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 feasible time when full service has been restored. * * * * * (d) Natural gas companies shall submit to the Director, Division of Pipeline Certificates, within 30 days of each interruption of service involving failure of facilities or of damage to any facilities on any part of the natural gas pipeline system operated under certificate authorization from the Commission a copy of any incident or damage reports required by Department of Transportation reporting requirements under the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968. (e) A copy of an e-mail or facsimile report pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section on interruption of service or damage to facilities must be sent to the State commission in those States where service has been or might be affected. [FR Doc. E6–9419 Filed 6–16–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard 33 CFR Part 165 [COTP San Diego 06–025] RIN 1625–AA00 Safety Zone; Fireworks, Lower Colorado River, Laughlin, NV Coast Guard, DHS. Notice of proposed rulemaking. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: The Coast Guard proposes to establish a temporary safety zone on the navigable waters of the Lower Colorado River, Laughlin, Nevada, in support of the Laughlin Independence Day fireworks display to be held near the AVI Resort and Casino. This temporary safety zone is necessary to provide for the safety of the participants, crew, spectators, participating vessels and other vessels and users of the waterway. Persons and vessels will be prohibited from entering into, transiting through, or anchoring within this safety zone unless authorized by the Captain of the Port, or his designated representative. DATES: Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before July 19, 2006. ADDRESSES: You may mail comments and related material to the Office of Waterways Management, U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego, 2710 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101–1028. The Office of Waterways Management, U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego maintains E:\FR\FM\19JNP1.SGM 19JNP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 117 (Monday, June 19, 2006)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 35226-35230]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-9419]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

18 CFR Part 260

[Docket No. RM06-18-000]


Revision of Regulations To Require Reporting of Damage to Natural 
Gas Pipeline Facilities

Issued June 9, 2006.
AGENCY: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, DOE.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) proposes 
to amend its regulations requiring the reporting of natural gas 
pipeline service interruptions to add a requirement that jurisdictional 
natural gas pipelines report damage to pipeline facilities that results 
in loss of or reduction in service through such facilities, and when 
service through such facilities has been restored. The Commission also 
proposes to amend its regulations to eliminate references to reporting 
by telegraph and to require reporting by e-mail or, as currently 
provided, by facsimile. The Commission further proposes to amend its 
regulations to change, from 20 to 30 days, the time by which a company 
must file with the Commission a copy of any incident report required by 
the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Commission invites public 
comments on these proposed revisions, which the Commission has 
determined are needed to ensure timely identification of damage to the 
nation's natural gas infrastructure as the result of hurricanes or 
other causes.

DATES: Comments are due July 19, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be filed electronically via the eFiling link on 
the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov. The Commission 
encourages electronic filing. Commenters unable to file comments 
electronically must send an original and 14 copies of their comments 
to: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 
888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. Refer to the Comment 
Procedures section of the preamble for additional information on how to 
file comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Berne Mosley, Office of Energy Projects, Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426. 
berne.mosley@ferc.gov. (202) 502-8625.
Howard Wheeler, Office of Energy Projects, Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426. 
howard.wheeler@ferc.gov. (202) 502-8688.
William Blome, Office of the General Counsel, Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426. 
william.blome@ferc.gov. (202) 502-8462.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction

    1. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is proposing to amend 
section 260.9 of its regulations.\1\ Currently, section 260.9 requires 
that a natural gas company submit a report only when it experiences a 
serious service interruption involving facilities operated under 
certificate authority granted by the Commission under the Natural Gas 
Act (Act).\2\ However, in situations where natural gas pipeline 
facilities are damaged, service interruptions can sometimes be avoided 
by rerouting gas supplies through other facilities or by means of other 
delivery arrangements. In these situations, section 260.9 does not 
presently require that companies report the damage to their pipeline 
facilities.
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    \1\ 18 CFR 260.9 (2005).
    \2\ 15 U.S.C. 717-717z (2006).
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    2. Even when arrangements can be made to avoid service 
interruptions as the result of damage to specific pipeline facilities, 
such damage can nevertheless place a strain on the nation's natural gas 
infrastructure. Widespread, severe damage can seriously threaten the 
stability of the infrastructure. The damage done by Hurricanes Katrina 
and Rita in the Gulf Coast area in late summer 2005 was widespread and 
severe. Offshore energy production was shut-in; pipelines, power lines, 
and other means of energy transportation were seriously damaged; and 
other important parts of the energy infrastructure system, such as 
natural gas processing plants, were closed. Hurricane recovery efforts 
are still ongoing.\3\
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    \3\ As of May 3, 2006, shut-in gas production in the Gulf of 
Mexico from the two hurricanes was equivalent to 12.95% of current 
daily gas production. Hurricane Katrina/Hurricane Rita Evacuation 
and Production Shut-in Statistics Report as of Wednesday, May 3, 
2006 [Final Report], U.S. Department of the Interior, Minerals 
Management Service (May 3, 2006).

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[[Page 35227]]

    3. Before, during, and after the hurricanes, the U.S. Department of 
Energy led the federal effort to collect energy infrastructure 
information in accordance with the National Response Plan.\4\ As a 
participant in this effort, the Commission became aware that, while 
jurisdictional companies had kept the Commission informed of service 
interruptions as required by section 260.9 of the regulations, vital 
information regarding the physical condition of facilities affecting 
operation of the pipeline grid remained unknown to the Commission. This 
was generally attributable to the following factors: (1) Only 
interruptions of firm service lasting more than three hours were 
required to be reported; (2) service requirements are generally lower 
during the ``shoulder'' months of September through November; (3) 
pipelines and shippers were able to adjust nomination schedules; and 
(4) pipelines were able to make operational changes to meet firm 
service obligations, such as by rerouting flows and drawing upon 
storage volumes. The Commission took ad hoc steps at that time to 
collect information regarding the operational status of natural gas 
pipeline facilities, including informally requesting pipeline companies 
to report on all damaged facilities and service interruptions, and 
requesting industry groups, such as the Interstate Natural Gas 
Association of America (INGAA) and the American Gas Association (AGA), 
to report on the condition of infrastructure.
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    \4\ Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-5, issued 
February 28, 2003, directed the Secretary of Homeland Security to 
develop a National Response Plan establishing a comprehensive all-
hazards approach to enhance the ability of the United States to 
manage domestic incidents. The National Response Plan issued in 
December 2004 includes protocols to help protect and restore 
critical infrastructure and key resources. Further information is 
provided on Homeland Security Web site at http://www.dhs.gov/
dhspublic/interapp/editorial/editorial_0566.xml.
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    4. In order to encourage rapid restoration of service, the 
Commission took a number of actions, including temporarily raising cost 
limits and including mainline facilities within the definition of 
eligible facilities that may be constructed by natural gas companies 
under their part 157, subpart F blanket certificates; \5\ granting 
waivers on a case-by-case basis \6\ of the 120-day limit and other 
conditions in the part 284, subpart L emergency regulations; \7\ and 
granting waivers of tariff provisions to allow delivery of gas at 
alternative points when the usual delivery points were out of service 
from hurricane damage.\8\
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    \5\ Expediting Infrastructure Construction to Speed Hurricane 
Recovery, 113 FERC ] 61,169 (2005). On February 22, 2006, the 
Commission extended until February 28, 2007, the time by which 
blanket certificate facilities constructed pursuant to these waivers 
must be placed into service. 114 FERC ] 61,186 (2006). The 
Commission's regulations governing Part 157 blanket certificate 
activities are set forth at 18 CFR 157.201 et seq. (2005).
    \6\ See, e.g., Discovery Gas Transmission, LLC, 113 FERC ] 
61,025 (2005).
    \7\ 18 CFR 284.261 et seq. (2005).
    \8\ Southern Natural Gas Company, 113 FERC ] 61,218 (2005).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    5. As described above, the Commission has regulations in place and 
can grant appropriate waivers for natural gas companies to undertake 
necessary construction activities in crisis situations. However, the 
Commission's current reporting requirements are not adequate to permit 
a reliable ``snapshot'' of the natural gas infrastructure at any given 
time.\9\ This inadequacy can be addressed by amending section 260.9 to 
require that jurisdictional companies report any damage to facilities 
that limits service through those facilities, regardless whether 
service can be maintained by rerouting gas supplies through other 
facilities or by other means. The approaching hurricane season or other 
events such an earthquake or terrorist attack could result in damage to 
essential natural gas facilities or make it necessary to evacuate the 
pipeline personnel essential to the operation of such facilities. The 
Commission needs to ensure that it will have adequate information to 
assess the status of the nation's gas infrastructure at any given time 
and communicate such information to other agencies, such as the U.S. 
Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Transportation. 
Accordingly, the Commission is proposing to revise its reporting 
requirements in section 260.9 of the regulations, as described below.
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    \9\ In particular, a pipeline is only required to make an annual 
report of its construction activities under the automatic provisions 
of the blanket certificate regulations in part 157, subpart F. 
Section 157.207 of the regulations requires that a pipeline file 
this annual report on or before May 1 of each year. See 18 CFR 
157.207 (2005). Since June 1 is the official start of the hurricane 
season, almost an entire year can pass before a pipeline is required 
by section 157.207 to report construction activities in response to 
hurricane damage under its part 157 blanket certificate. Further, 
the information provided in these annual reports is not sufficient 
to determine whether a particular blanket certificate construction 
was undertaken due to damage to facilities resulting from a 
hurricane or other cause. In addition, while the emergency 
regulations in part 284, subpart, 18 CFR 284.261 et seq, require 
that the commencement of an emergency transportation, sale or 
exchange transaction be reported within 48 hours, the emergency 
regulations do not require the reporting of damage to facilities 
that may have made the emergency transaction necessary or reporting 
regarding facilities constructed to address the emergency. Thus, 
even if permanent authority to operate emergency facilities is later 
sought either under the temporary certificate provisions of section 
157.17 or under the part 157 blanket certificate prior notice 
provisions, as suggested under the definition of ``emergency 
facilities'' in section 284.262, information regarding any damaged 
facilities may be inadequate or not known for some time.
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II. Summary of Proposed Regulations

    6. Section 260.9(a) currently requires that natural gas companies 
report serious service interruptions. The proposed regulations would 
add a new requirement that natural gas companies report (1) damage to 
certificated natural gas facilities that results in loss of or 
reduction in service through such facilities, and (2) when service 
through such facilities has been restored.
    7. Section 260.9(b) would be amended to remove the reference to 
``telegraph'' and to require that natural gas companies make required 
reports of interruptions to service or damage to facilities by e-mail 
or, as currently provided for in section 260.9(b), facsimile 
transmission.\10\ All reports shall be due at the earliest feasible 
time after an interruption of service or damage to pipeline facilities 
for which a report is required.
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    \10\ On May 27, 2005, the Commission issued a notice of proposed 
rulemaking in Docket No. RM05-12-000 which proposed, inter alia, to 
remove references to ``telegraph'' from section 260.9. See 
Modification of Natural Gas Reporting Regulations, 111 FERC ] 61,280 
(2005). Adoption of this notice of proposed rulemaking's proposal to 
remove references to ``telegraph'' would supersede the proposal in 
Docket No. RM05-12-000 to revise section 260.9.
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    8. The information requirement of section 260.9(b) also would be 
revised to reflect the addition of the proposed new requirement that 
natural gas companies report damage to facilities and subsequently 
report when full service through such facilities has been restored. As 
revised, section 260.9(b) would require that a report of service 
interruption or damage to natural gas facilities state:
    (1) The location and cause of the service interruption or damage to 
pipeline or other certificated natural gas facilities;
    (2) The nature of any damage to natural gas facilities;
    (3) Specific identification of any natural gas facilities damaged;
    (4) The time the service interruption or damage to natural gas 
facilities occurred;
    (5) The customers affected by the service interruption or damage to 
natural gas facilities;
    (6) Emergency actions taken to maintain service; and

[[Page 35228]]

    (7) Company contact and telephone number.
    9. Section 260.9(b) also would be revised to require that a company 
make a subsequent report stating when full service through damaged 
natural gas facilities has been restored.
    10. Section 260.9(d) would be revised to change, from 20 days to 30 
days following a service interruption or damage to facilities, the time 
within which a natural gas pipeline company must furnish to the 
Commission a copy of any incident report required by the U.S. 
Department of Transportation's reporting requirements under the Natural 
Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968.\11\ This revision is proposed because 
the U.S. Department of Transportation provides up to 30 days for 
incident reports to be made.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ 49 U.S.C. 60101 et seq.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    11. Section 260.9(e) currently requires that a company send copies 
of reports of service interruptions to state commissions. Section 
260.9(e) would be revised by adding a new requirement that a company 
also must send state commissions copies of required reports of damage 
to facilities.

III. Environmental Analysis

    12. The Commission is required to prepare an Environmental 
Assessment (EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for any 
action that may have a significant adverse effect on the human 
environment.\12\ No environmental consideration is raised by the 
promulgation of a rule that is procedural in nature or does not 
substantially change the effect of legislation or regulations being 
amended.\13\
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    \12\ Order No. 486, Regulations Implementing the National 
Environmental Policy Act, 52 FR 47897 (December 17, 1987), FERC 
Stats. & Regs. Preambles 1986-1990 ] 30,783 (1987).
    \13\ 18 CFR 380.4(a)(2)(ii) (2005).
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    13. The regulations proposed herein would make relatively minor 
changes to the type of information to be provided to the Commission by 
pipeline companies and the way in which it is provided, and would 
slightly alter the timeframe (by giving the companies more time) in 
which the copy of the incident report required to be filed with the 
U.S. Department of Transportation must be filed with the Commission. 
The modified procedures would not substantially change the regulatory 
requirements to which the pipeline companies are currently subject. 
Accordingly, preparation of an environmental document is not required.

IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act Statement

    14. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) \14\ generally 
requires a description and analysis of final rules that will have 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The Commission is not required to make such an analysis if proposed 
regulations would not have such an effect. Under the industry standards 
used for the RFA, a natural gas pipeline company qualifies as ``a small 
entity'' if it has annual receipts of $6.5 million or less.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ 5 U.S.C. 601-612.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    15. Most companies regulated by the Commission do not fall within 
the RFA's definition of a small entity.\15\ Approximately 114 natural 
gas companies are potentially subject to the additional requirements 
proposed by this notice. For the year 2004 (the most recent year for 
which information is available), 32 of these companies had annual 
revenues of less than $6.5 million. Of these 32 companies, 23 were non-
major gas companies.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ 5 U.S.C. 601(3), citing section 3 of the Small Business 
Act, 15 U.S.C. 623. Section 3 of the SBA defines a ``small business 
concern'' as a business which is independently owned and operated 
and which is not dominant in its field of operation. The Small 
Business Size Standards component of the North American Industry 
Classification System (NAICS) defines a small natural gas pipeline 
company as one that transports natural gas and whose annual receipts 
(total income plus cost of goods sold) did not exceed $6.5 million 
for the preceding year. 13 CFR 121.201.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    16. As discussed above, section 260.9 of the regulations already 
requires natural gas companies to report serious service interruptions. 
Frequently, service interruptions are due to damage to facilities. 
Thus, the proposed new reporting requirements will only increase the 
number of reports that a company is required to file to the extent that 
damage to facilities does not result in a loss of or reduction in 
service. Further, the required information will already be known and 
identified by companies and can be submitted either by e-mail or 
facsimile.
    17. In view of these considerations, the Commission hereby 
certifies that this notice's proposed amendments to the regulations, if 
promulgated, will not have a significant impact on a substantial number 
of small entities.

V. Information Collection Statement

    18. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations require 
that OMB approve certain reporting, record keeping, and public 
disclosure (collections of information) requirements imposed by federal 
agencies.\16\ Pursuant to OMB regulations, the Commission is providing 
notice of its proposed information collection to OMB for review under 
section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA).\17\
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    \16\ 5 CFR 1320.11 (2005).
    \17\ 44 U.S.C. 3507(d) (2005).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    19. As stated above, section 260.9 of the regulations already 
requires natural gas companies to report serious service interruptions. 
Frequently, service interruptions are due to damage to facilities. 
Thus, while the proposed new requirements will require reports of 
damage to facilities and subsequent reports of restoration of service, 
the proposed regulations will only increase the number of reports that 
a company is required to file to the extent that damage to facilities 
does not result in a loss of or reduction in service.
    20. Further, information regarding damage to facilities will be 
readily ascertainable by companies and can be submitted either by e-
mail or facsimile. The current provisions of section 260.9 provide for 
reports only by telegraph or facsimile. Telegraph is no longer a 
feasible option. Therefore, the proposed regulations require the 
companies to provide reports by facsimile or e-mail. Such electronic 
submission of information will reduce the number of data entry errors, 
permit Commission staff to conduct analysis in a timely manner, and 
provide for the storage of information on digital storage media.
    21. Electronic filing saves time and resources for all parties 
since electronic filings require fewer personnel than paper filings by 
avoiding the need for paper processing and mailing. The integrity of 
the information should increase because jurisdictional entities and the 
Commission will be able to correct errors more promptly.
    22. The Commission also expects that the requirements prescribed 
here will reduce the burden on the industry of reporting similar or 
identical information to multiple sources, since information collected 
by the Commission can be requested from the Commission by other 
agencies with a need for such information. For example, as discussed 
above, following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Commission was called 
upon the U. S. Department of Energy for assistance in collecting energy 
infrastructure information in accordance with the National Response 
Plan.
    23. FERC-576, ``Report of Service Interruptions,'' identifies the 
Commission's information collection relating to part 260, ``Statements 
and Reports (Schedules),'' of the regulations which apply to natural 
gas pipeline

[[Page 35229]]

companies having facilities subject to the Commission's jurisdiction 
under the Natural Gas Act. The instant notice of proposed rulemaking 
would require natural gas pipeline companies to report damage to 
jurisdictional facilities and restoration of service, in addition to 
the service interruptions already required to be reported. The proposed 
regulations also would require a company to submit a copy of a damage 
report to the relevant state agency and to submit to the Commission any 
incident report required by the U.S. Department of Transportation 
pursuant to the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968.\18\
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    \18\ 49 U.S.C. Chapter 601.
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    23. Comments are solicited on the Commission's need for this 
information, whether the information will have practical utility, the 
accuracy of the burden estimates provided herein, ways to enhance the 
quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected, and 
any suggested methods for minimizing respondents' burden, including the 
use of automated information technologies.
    24. The proposed new reporting requirements require a company to 
(1) make a report of damage to facilities that results in a loss or 
reduction of service through those particular facilities; (2) send a 
copy of the damage report to the relevant state commission; (3) make a 
follow-up report when full service has been restored through the 
damaged facilities; and (4) submit a copy of any incident report 
required by the Department of Transportation's regulations.
    25. The current provisions of section 260.9 allow for significantly 
damaged facilities to remain unreported when an interruption to service 
can be avoided. The Commission estimates that the new reporting 
requirements to fill this gap will result in 15 companies (respondents) 
being required to make at least one damage report. The Commission 
further estimates that the new reporting requirements will result in 
the submission of 35 damage reports. The Commission estimates that a 
company will need 75 minutes to prepare and submit a damage report; 15 
minutes to submit a copy of the damage report to the relevant state 
commission; 15 minutes to prepare and submit a follow-up restoration of 
service report; and 15 minutes to submit a copy of a USDOT incident 
report. For purposes of preparing burden estimates for this rulemaking, 
the Commission treats all four of these requirements as one response, 
with the total time required being two hours.
    26. In view of the above, the burden estimates for complying with 
the additional filing requirements of this rule pursuant to the 
procedures in proposed amended section 260.9 of the Commission's 
regulations are as set forth below:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 Number of        Number of        Hours per
               Data collection                  respondents       responses         response       Total hours
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FERC-576....................................              15               35                2               70
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Total Annual Hours for Collection: 70.
    These are mandatory information collection requirements.
    Information Collection Costs: Because of the regional differences 
and the various staffing levels that will be involved in preparing the 
documentation (legal, technical and support) the Commission is using an 
hourly rate of $150 to estimate the costs for filing and other 
administrative processes (reviewing instructions, searching data 
sources, completing and transmitting the collection of information). 
The estimated cost is anticipated to be $10,500 (70 hours x $150).
    Title: FERC 576 ``Report of Service Interruptions.''
    Action: Proposed Information Collection.
    OMB Control No.: 1902-0004.
    Respondents: Natural gas companies/business or other for-profit.
    Frequency of Responses: On occasion.
    Necessity of Information: The proposed amended regulation will 
revise the reporting requirements for service interruptions and damage 
to facilities involving natural gas pipeline facilities subject to the 
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's jurisdiction. The information 
filed with the Commission informs it of serious pipeline service 
interruptions and also of damage to the nation's natural gas 
infrastructure. The proposed amendment would enhance this information 
by requiring filers to describe specifically which facilities have been 
damaged and how the damage occurred.
    Internal Review: The Commission has assured itself, by means of 
internal review, that there is specific, objective support for the 
burden estimates associated with this information requirement. The 
revisions will provide more complete, effective and useful information 
to the Commission without significantly increasing the burden to the 
regulated industry.
    27. Interested persons may obtain information on the information 
requirements by contacting the following: The Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426 (Attention: 
Michael Miller, Office of the Executive Director, Phone (202) 502-8415; 
FAX (202) 273-0873; e-mail Michael.miller@ferc.gov).
    28. For submitting comments concerning the collection of 
information and the associated burden estimate(s), including 
suggestions for reducing this burden, please send your comments to the 
contact listed above and to the Office of Management and Budget, Office 
of Administrative and Regulatory Affairs, Washington, DC 20503 
(Attention: Desk Officer for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 
Phone (202) 395-4650; FAX (202) 395-7285).

VI. Comment Procedures

    29. The Commission invites interested persons to submit comments on 
the matters and issues proposed in this notice to be adopted, including 
any related matters or alternative proposals that commenters may wish 
to discuss. Comments are due 30 days after publication of this notice 
of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register. Comments must refer to 
Docket No. RM06-18-000, and must include the commenters' names, the 
organization they represent, if applicable, and their address in their 
comments. Comments may be filed either in electronic or paper format. 
The Commission encourages electronic filing.
    30. Comments may be filed electronically via the eFiling link on 
the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov. The Commission 
accepts most standard word processing formats and commenters may attach 
additional files with supporting information in certain other file 
formats. Commenters filing electronically do not need to make a paper 
filing. Commenters unable to file comments electronically must send an 
original and 14 copies of their

[[Page 35230]]

comments to: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Secretary of the 
Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426.
    31. All comments will be placed in our public files and may be 
viewed, printed, or downloaded remotely as described in the Document 
Availability section below. Commenters are not required to serve copies 
of their comments on other commenters.

VII. Document Availability

    32. In addition to publishing the full text of this document in the 
Federal Register, the Commission provides all interested persons an 
opportunity to view and print the contents of this document via the 
Internet through FERC's Home Page (http://www.ferc.gov) and in FERC's 
Public Reference Room during normal business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
Eastern time) at 888 First Street, NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426.
    33. From FERC's Home Page on the Internet, this information is 
available in the Commission's document management system, eLibrary. The 
full text of this document is available in eLibrary in PDF and 
Microsoft Word format for viewing, printing, and downloading. To access 
this document in eLibrary, type the docket number excluding the last 
three digits of this document in the docket number field.
    34. User assistance is available for eLibrary and the FERC's Web 
site during normal business hours from our Help line at (202) 502-8222 
or the Public Reference Room at (202) 502-8371 Press 0, TTY (202) 502-
8659. E-mail the Public Reference Room at 
public.referenceroom@ferc.gov.

List of Subjects in 18 CFR Part 260

    Natural gas, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    By direction of the Commission.
Magalie R. Salas,
Secretary.
    In consideration of the foregoing, the Commission proposes to amend 
part 260 of Chapter I, Title 18, Code of Federal Regulations, as 
follows:

PART 260--STATEMENTS AND REPORTS (SCHEDULES)

    1. The authority citation for part 260 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 15 U.S.C. 717-717w, 3301-3432; 42 U.S.C. 7101-7352.

    2. Section 260.9 is amended by revising the section heading and 
paragraphs (a), (b), (d), and (e) to read as follows:


Sec.  260.9  Reports by natural gas pipeline companies on service 
interruptions and damage to facilities.

    (a) Every natural gas company must report to the Director, Division 
of Pipeline Certificates, at the earliest feasible time:
    (1) Damage to any pipeline or other natural gas facilities operated 
under certificate authorization from the Commission that results in 
loss of or reduction of service through those facilities; and
    (2) Serious interruptions of service to any shipper involving 
facilities operated under certificate authorization from the 
Commission. Such serious interruptions of service shall include 
interruptions of service to communities, major government installations 
and large industrial plants outside of communities or any other 
interruptions which are significant in the judgment of the pipeline 
company. Interruptible service interrupted in accordance with the 
provisions of filed tariffs, interruptions of service resulting from 
planned maintenance or construction and interruptions of service of 
less than three hours duration need not be reported.
    (b) Any report of service interruption or damage to facilities 
required by paragraph (a) of this section must be submitted by the 
natural gas company by e-mail to pipelineoutage@ferc.gov or by 
facsimile transmission to the Director, Division of Pipeline 
Certificates, Office of Energy Projects at FAX number (202) 208-2853.
    (1) Reports shall be made at the earliest feasible time after an 
interruption of service or damage to pipeline facilities for which a 
report is required, and must state:
    (i) The location and cause of the service interruption or damage to 
pipeline or other natural gas facilities;
    (ii) The nature of any damage to natural gas facilities;
    (iii) Specific identification of any facilities damaged;
    (iv) The time the service interruption or damage to facilities 
occurred;
    (v) The customers affected by the service interruption or damage to 
facilities;
    (vi) Emergency actions taken to maintain service; and
    (vii) Company contact and telephone number.
    (2) Following a report of damage to natural gas facilities 
resulting in loss of or reduction of service through those facilities, 
the natural gas company shall report to the Director, Division of 
Pipeline Certificates, at the earliest feasible time when full service 
has been restored.
* * * * *
    (d) Natural gas companies shall submit to the Director, Division of 
Pipeline Certificates, within 30 days of each interruption of service 
involving failure of facilities or of damage to any facilities on any 
part of the natural gas pipeline system operated under certificate 
authorization from the Commission a copy of any incident or damage 
reports required by Department of Transportation reporting requirements 
under the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968.
    (e) A copy of an e-mail or facsimile report pursuant to paragraph 
(b) of this section on interruption of service or damage to facilities 
must be sent to the State commission in those States where service has 
been or might be affected.

[FR Doc. E6-9419 Filed 6-16-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P