Pipeline Safety: Hazardous Liquid Pipelines Transporting Ethanol, Ethanol Blends, and other Biofuels, 45002-45005 [E7-15615]

Download as PDF 45002 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 154 / Friday, August 10, 2007 / Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 195 [Docket No. PHMSA–2007–28136] Pipeline Safety: Hazardous Liquid Pipelines Transporting Ethanol, Ethanol Blends, and other Biofuels Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of policy statement and request for comments. yshivers on PROD1PC62 with PROPOSALS AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Department of Transportation (DOT), in coordination with the Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, and others, is considering current and future transportation challenges posed by growing demand for ethanol and other biofuels and biofuel blends. Although pipelines have long been a primary mode for high volume transportation of gasoline and other petroleum products, most biofuels used in the U.S. today are transported exclusively by marine vessel, rail, and/or highway. In support of the President’s energy agenda, DOT is prepared to facilitate pipeline options by sponsoring research and development, resolving technical issues, and, if necessary, clarifying safety standards. The PHMSA is the DOT agency with regulatory authority over the safe and reliable transportation of hazardous materials by all modes, including pipelines. The PHMSA’s Hazardous Materials Regulations govern the transportation of ethanol and other biofuels and blends by rail, air, motor carrier, and barge. The PHMSA’s Pipeline Safety Regulations cover the transportation by pipeline of all petroleum products, including gasoline blended with biofuel. In this Notice, PHMSA sets forth a formal determination (for purposes of 49 U.S.C. 60101(a)(4)(B)) that the transportation of unblended biofuels by pipeline is subject to the agency’s jurisdiction and invites comments on the adequacy of existing regulatory definitions and standards. This Notice also describes and invites comments on the agency’s ongoing efforts to identify and address the short-, medium-, and long-term opportunities and challenges associated with transporting biofuels. The PHMSA is seeking comments on technical issues, adequacy of standards, and research and development needs associated with the transportation of VerDate Aug<31>2005 13:40 Aug 09, 2007 Jkt 211001 biofuels by pipeline. We describe and invite comments on the agency’s ongoing efforts to prepare communities and emergency responders to mitigate hazards associated with transportation involving new fuels. DATES: Please submit comments by September 10, 2007. ADDRESSES: Comments should reference Docket No. PHMSA–2007–28136 and may be submitted in the following ways: • DOT Web Site: https://dms.dot.gov. To submit comments on the DOT electronic docket site, click ‘‘Comment/ Submissions,’’ click ‘‘Continue,’’ fill in the requested information, click ‘‘Continue,’’ enter your comment, then click ‘‘Submit.’’ • Fax: 1–202–493–2251. • Mail: Docket: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. • E-Gov Web Site: https:// www.regulations.gov. This site allows the public to enter comments on any Federal Register notice issued by any agency. Instructions: Identify the docket number, PHMSA–2007–28136, at the beginning of your comments. Mail your comments and send two copies. To receive confirmation that PHMSA received your comments, include a selfaddressed stamped postcard. Internet users may submit comments at https:// www.regulations.gov, and may access all comments received by DOT at https:// dms.dot.gov by performing a simple search for the docket number. Note: The PHMSA posts all comments without changes or edits to https:// dms.dot.gov, including any personal information provided. Privacy Act Statement Anyone can search the electronic form of all comments received in response to any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement was published in the Federal Register on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477), and is on the Web at https://dms.dot.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joy Kadnar, Office of Pipeline Safety, 202– 366–4595, or by e-mail at joy.kadnar@dot.gov; Larry White, Office of Chief Counsel, 202–366–4400, or by e-mail at lawrence.white@dot.gov; or PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Bob Richard, Office of Hazardous Materials Safety, 202–366–0656, or by email at bob.richard@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Energy Policy and the Growing Demand for Biofuels. In August 2005, the President signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, providing incentives for the development of renewable energy and establishing the foundation for the increased production and use of ethanol and other biofuels. Building on the Energy Policy Act’s clean energy foundation, the President announced the Advanced Energy Initiative in the 2006 State of the Union Address. The Advanced Energy Initiative focuses on increasing research and development to encourage technological breakthroughs in the transportation and power sectors that will diversify our resource portfolio. Together, these initiatives will reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil by increasing the use of renewable fuels, such as ethanol and other biofuels. Today, nearly half of all U.S. gasoline contains some ethanol (mostly blended at the 10 percent level or lower). In 2006, the U.S. consumed roughly five billion gallons of biofuels (mostly ethanol); these five billion gallons were blended into roughly 65 billion gallons of gasoline. Federal energy policy favors rapid growth in biofuels over the next decade. In his 2007 State of the Union Address, President Bush challenged the Nation to reduce consumption of oil by 20 percent over the next ten years. The President’s 20-in-10 plan calls for expanding consumption of alternative fuels (including biofuels) from five billion gallons in 2007 to 35 billion gallons in 2017. Transportation Requirements. In support of the 20-in-10 plan, DOT is stepping up efforts to identify and address transportation issues associated with increased use of biofuels. Because our national transportation system is fueled largely by refined petroleum products, the transition to higher concentration biofuel blends has implications for most DOT programs, including fuel efficiency and safety programs administered by DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This Notice focuses specifically on the movement of biofuels and biofuel blends as commodities in transportation and the need for safe, cost-effective transportation solutions. Most ethanol in use today is transported from production or import locations by highway, rail, and/or barge and blended with gasoline at or near the point of E:\FR\FM\10AUP1.SGM 10AUP1 yshivers on PROD1PC62 with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 154 / Friday, August 10, 2007 / Proposed Rules retail distribution. To sustain market growth needed to meet current targets, we believe that pipelines must be an option for high-volume transportation of biofuel products. A large pipeline can transport roughly two million barrels of gasoline a day. By way of comparison, 9,375 large semitruck tankers are required to transport two million barrels of product. It takes twenty-four 100-car unit trains extending three miles each, or ten 15unit barge tows, to transport two million barrels. Trucks, vessels, and trains consume diesel or other liquid fuels and also contribute to congestion in our Nation’s freight and passenger transportation corridors. Further, as the National Transportation Safety Board has observed, pipeline transportation has a consistently lower accident rate than other modes. Facilitating Transportation Solutions. Within the Federal Government, PHMSA has regulatory responsibility for the protection of people, property, and the environment from the risks of pipeline transportation. The agency carries out this responsibility through regulation, oversight, enforcement, emergency response preparation, and research and development, all targeted at reducing the likelihood and consequence of pipeline incidents. The PHMSA’s Integrity Management regulations for hazardous liquid pipelines require operators to develop and implement comprehensive plans for addressing the range of risks facing their pipelines, taking account of all relevant risk variables, including the nature and properties of the particular hazardous materials moved. The PHMSA is working with other Federal agencies and a broad enterprise of stakeholders—including industry, standards organizations, and emergency responders—to ensure that adequate design and operating standards for biofuel pipelines are in place or, if necessary, can be further developed in accordance with current pipeline data and technology. The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) have provided PHMSA with information on their progress analyzing safety and integrity issues associated with biofuel pipelines and shared a proposed research agenda with PHMSA and other agencies. The PHMSA has begun a technical assessment with the Pipeline Research Council International on the potential for ethanol induced stress corrosion cracking in existing pipeline infrastructure used to transport ethanol and various ethanol blended fuels. Using its authority under chapter 601 of the U.S. Code, PHMSA expanded VerDate Aug<31>2005 13:40 Aug 09, 2007 Jkt 211001 its research and development efforts to focus on short-, medium- and long-term challenges of transporting biofuels in existing products pipelines and in dedicated biofuel pipelines. The PHMSA participates on various panels and working groups, including the DOT Biofuels Panel and the 20-in10 Biofuels Working Group, and collaborates on biofuel activities with other agencies and organizations. To better understand the opportunities, challenges, and potential technical issues, PHMSA invited speakers to its February 2007 Research and Development Forum in New Orleans, Louisiana to discuss current standards and technical studies and to identify research and development gaps related to biofuel transportation by pipeline. As discussed more fully below, PHMSA has also partnered with the emergency response community to upgrade education and training efforts and develop optimal response techniques and procedures for responding to biofuel spill incidents. 1. Pipeline Research and Development—Invitation To Comment The PHMSA is targeting some of its research and development activity at advancing the most promising technologies for the safe operation of biofuel pipelines. The challenge is to identify and quantify any safety and reliability threats to biofuel pipelines and to remove or manage these threats through a risk-based, data driven integrity management approach. Although pipelines are highly efficient, they have not been used on a widespread basis for transporting gasoline-ethanol blends. This is partially a function of unresolved technical and operational issues that would affect both the use of existing products pipelines and the prospect of building new, dedicated biofuel pipelines. These include metallurgical issues, such as internal corrosion and stress corrosion cracking, and operational issues, including the performance of seals, gaskets and internal coatings. The PHMSA expects these technical issues to be resolved through ongoing short-term technical assessments and longer-range research and development. The risk of product contamination is also a significant factor. The PHMSA understands that the industry is concerned about the ability of transported gasoline-ethanol blends to meet the ASTM specification for gasoline, D 4814—Standard Specification for Automotive SparkIgnition Engine Fuel due to ethanol’s sensitivity to water. The U.S. pipeline PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 45003 system is a ‘‘wet system’’ with moisture introduced from the transport of various products. Unless measures are undertaken to remove or control moisture in the system, ethanol and ethanol blends could potentially absorb water and arrive at destination off specification. Additionally, many pipeline segments may need to undergo preparatory cleaning to remove built up lacquers, gums, and deposits in the system. Otherwise, the solvency effect of ethanol could remove such deposits, potentially contaminating the ethanol and trailing products in the system. These issues are challenging, but by no means insurmountable. Research and development focusing on metallurgical, operational, and maintenance issues should aid in their resolution and will build confidence in the use of pipelines as the primary carrier of large volumes of gasoline-ethanol blends. The PHMSA is reaching out to a broad enterprise of stakeholders to better understand and help address all anticipated challenges to the transportation of biofuels and biofuel blends by pipeline. We will partner with other agencies, standards organizations, and private industry to coordinate research projects to avoid redundant efforts. The research strategy put forward by API and AOPL, for example, suggests an approach that: A. Identifies which blends can be moved in existing systems with little or no modification to the system; B. Identifies which blends can be moved in existing systems with appreciable modifications; and C. Identifies which blends cannot be practically moved in existing systems but could be moved in specially designed new transmission or shorthaul distribution systems. Research would be focused on the nearterm operational and system integrity issues associated with transporting blends such as E10, E20 and E85 in existing petroleum products pipelines. Issues that need to be addressed include water pick-up, phase separation, material effects, solvent effects, the use of drag reducing agents, transmix injection and processing, and other ways operational processes may be affected. The PHMSA encourages researchers to identify pipeline system modifications that address the unique risks associated with biofuels without rendering the pipeline unsuitable for transporting traditional energy commodities and identify those blends that cannot be practically transported in pipelines without a major overhaul. Additional research would focus on the E:\FR\FM\10AUP1.SGM 10AUP1 45004 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 154 / Friday, August 10, 2007 / Proposed Rules yshivers on PROD1PC62 with PROPOSALS potential for integrity threats, such as stress corrosion cracking, associated with the long-term use of existing pipeline infrastructure and dedicated biofuel pipelines. This research should lead to the development of long-term mitigation strategies, design and operating specifications, and guidelines for the construction of new pipelines dedicated to ethanol or biofuel service. The PHMSA recently issued a Broad Agency Announcement seeking white papers on research and development projects and coordinated programs to address issues associated with transportation of ethanol and biofuels by pipeline. The PHMSA is requesting information from pipeline operators, standards development bodies and organizations, trade associations, government agencies, other organizations, and the public regarding research and development, the adequacy of existing standards, and any other pertinent issues related to ethanol and other biofuels transportation by pipeline. Ultimately, the goal is to work with standards developing organizations to move this new knowledge into consensus standards. 2. Emergency Response—Invitation To Comment The PHMSA has a long-standing partnership with the emergency response community. We have taken steps to educate responders on hazard communication and identification, safe incident mitigation, and fire suppression measures for responding to spill incidents involving ethanol and other biofuels in transportation. Because of ethanol’s characteristics, specific emergency response measures must be taken by pipeline operators and first responders in the event of a release, including the use of appropriate extinguishing agents and foams. The PHMSA has partnered with the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM), the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the National Fire Protection Association, the Independent Liquid Terminal Association (ILTA), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Kidde Fire Fighting, and other organizations and individuals in order to assist in educating first responders in fighting ethanol fires. The primary purpose of this coalition is to bring together key stakeholders to share information on various projects and efforts. A number of projects have been initiated that involve testing of various foams and other extinguishing agents, as well as the development of training materials for emergency responders. VerDate Aug<31>2005 13:40 Aug 09, 2007 Jkt 211001 In June 2006, PHMSA issued a Safety Alert to provide emergency responders with guidance on appropriate procedures for responding to incidents involving fuel mixtures containing ethanol (https://hazmat.dot.gov/E– 85_042606.pdf). In addition, PHMSA provides Hazardous Material Emergency Preparedness Grants to emergency responders for planning and training, including training for responses to incidents involving ethanol-gasoline mixtures. To help emergency responders utilize the most effective emergency response procedures for incidents involving fuel mixtures containing ethanol (or ‘‘ethyl alcohol’’) and gasoline in various concentrations, PHMSA has proposed establishing a specific United Nations (UN) identification number and proper shipping name for ethanol-gasoline blended fuels with more than ten percent ethanol. In August 2006, PHMSA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, proposing to add a new entry ‘‘Ethanol and gasoline mixture or Ethanol and motor spirit or Ethanol and petrol mixture, with more than ten percent ethanol, 3, UN3475, II’’ to the Hazardous Materials Table (HMT). The PHMSA also proposed revising the entry for ‘‘Gasohol gasoline mixed with ethyl alcohol, with not more than 20 percent alcohol, 3, NA1203, II’’ to limit this entry to gasoline mixtures with no more than ten percent alcohol. The 2004 Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG2004) refers to Guide 127 (Flammable Liquids Polar/WaterMiscible) for response to incidents involving Alcohols, n.o.s., 3, UN1987, and Denatured alcohol, 3, NA1987. Guide 127 specifies the use of alcohol resistant foam. In early 2008, PHMSA will publish and distribute an updated ERG. The updated ERG will include appropriate guidance for the initial response to incidents involving ethanolgasoline mixtures and will also include information on pipeline markers. The PHMSA encourages State fire marshals and other first responders to inform us about issues associated with emergency response for biofuel incidents including the need for studies of the effectiveness of response techniques and the development of educational materials. We are interested in comments relative to how mixtures of ethanol and gasoline varying between 10 percent to 20 percent should be addressed and if additional research is needed to assess particular characteristics of these mixtures, how they should be described, and the appropriate response methods. PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 3. Oversight of Pipelines Transporting Biofuels and Biofuel Blends—Invitation To Comment Pursuant to the pipeline safety laws, 49 U.S.C. 60101 et seq., PHMSA has jurisdiction over the design, construction, operation and maintenance of pipelines transporting ‘‘hazardous liquids.’’ By statute, the term ‘‘hazardous liquid’’ refers to ‘‘petroleum or a petroleum product’’ and ‘‘a substance the Secretary of Transportation decides may pose an unreasonable risk to life or property’’ when transported by pipeline in a liquid state. 49 U.S.C. 60101(a)(4). Under this authority, PHMSA previously has established safety standards for pipelines carrying petroleum, petroleum products, anhydrous ammonia, and carbon dioxide in a supercritical or dense vapor state. The PHMSA considers all biofuelgasoline blends to be ‘‘petroleum products,’’ within the meaning of 49 CFR 195.2, regardless of their relative biofuel/gasoline content. Accordingly, any pipeline used to transport such blends, whether in batches or in dedicated infrastructure, would be subject to PHMSA’s existing standards for hazardous liquid pipelines. Under those standards, the pipeline operator is responsible for establishing that any material moved in the pipeline ‘‘is chemically compatible with both the pipeline, including all components, and any other commodity that it may come into contact with while in the pipeline.’’ (49 CFR 195.4). Unblended ethanol and other biofuels produced by biological fermentation and vegetable- and animal-oil based biodiesel products are not ‘‘petroleum products,’’ as we have defined that term (49 CFR 195.2). However, based on their physical properties, these substances clearly meet the alternative definition of ‘‘hazardous liquid’’ under 49 U.S.C. 60101(a)(4)(B). Ethanol is a highly flammable liquid with explosive limits in the range of 3.5 percent to 19 percent in air and a flash point of 54 degrees Fahrenheit. (By comparison, the explosive range for natural gas varies between five and 15 percent in air. Substances with a flash point lower than 100 degrees Fahrenheit are considered flammable.) The flash point of an ethanol-water mixture increases as ethanol is diluted with water. The flash point of an 80 percent ethanol/water mix is about 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and for 70 percent ethanol-water mix is about 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Ethanol vapors are also combustible, heavier than air, and may form an explosive mixture when combined with air. E:\FR\FM\10AUP1.SGM 10AUP1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 154 / Friday, August 10, 2007 / Proposed Rules yshivers on PROD1PC62 with PROPOSALS Similar to highly volatile liquids, ethanol vapors may travel considerable distances to sources of ignition and flash back. Pure or highly concentrated ethanol (E–85) may permanently damage living tissue on contact. Exposure to ethanol vapors in high concentrations or for prolonged periods is harmful to human health. In concentrations greater than 50 percent, ethanol can cause local dehydration and lesions. Absorption, which occurs swiftly from the gastrointestinal tract, causes euphoria, with subsequent dizziness, inebriation, paralysis, diminished reflex, excitability, cyanosis, narcosis and respiratory paralysis. For these reasons, ethanol and other biofuels are substances that may pose ‘‘unreasonable risks to life or property,’’ within the meaning of 49 U.S.C. 60101(a)(4)(B)). Accordingly, these materials constitute ‘‘hazardous liquids’’ for purposes of the pipeline safety laws and regulations. VerDate Aug<31>2005 13:40 Aug 09, 2007 Jkt 211001 The PHMSA is considering whether it is necessary to amend the definition of hazardous liquid in 49 CFR 195.2 to expressly include ethanol and biofuels. Such an amendment would confirm that the transportation of pure ethanol or biofuels by dedicated biofuel pipelines is subject to Part 195. If biofuels will always be denatured by blending them with petroleum products prior to transporting them by pipeline, however, amending this regulatory definition may be unnecessary. Accordingly, PHMSA invites comments on whether we should amend 49 CFR Part 195 to expressly include (non-blended) ethanol and biofuels in the definition of hazardous liquid. The PHMSA also seeks comments on whether any of the existing requirements for hazardous liquid pipelines in Part 195 should not apply to ethanol and biofuel pipelines and if not, why not. Additionally, we invite comments on whether there is a PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 45005 need for any requirements to specifically address pipelines transporting ethanol and biofuels. After PHMSA reviews any comments and other information received in response to this notice, we will announce any additional activities PHMSA plans to undertake or coordinate in these areas. If we determine, after reviewing the comments, that Part 195 should be amended to address the transportation of biofuel or biofuel-gasoline blends, we will publish any proposed amendment for public comment in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act. Authority: 49 U.S.C. 60101 et seq. Issued in Washington, DC on July 31, 2007. Thomas J. Barrett, Administrator. [FR Doc. E7–15615 Filed 8–9–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–60–P E:\FR\FM\10AUP1.SGM 10AUP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 154 (Friday, August 10, 2007)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 45002-45005]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-15615]



[[Page 45002]]

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 195

[Docket No. PHMSA-2007-28136]


Pipeline Safety: Hazardous Liquid Pipelines Transporting Ethanol, 
Ethanol Blends, and other Biofuels

AGENCY: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), 
U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of policy statement and request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The Department of Transportation (DOT), in coordination with 
the Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, and others, is 
considering current and future transportation challenges posed by 
growing demand for ethanol and other biofuels and biofuel blends. 
Although pipelines have long been a primary mode for high volume 
transportation of gasoline and other petroleum products, most biofuels 
used in the U.S. today are transported exclusively by marine vessel, 
rail, and/or highway. In support of the President's energy agenda, DOT 
is prepared to facilitate pipeline options by sponsoring research and 
development, resolving technical issues, and, if necessary, clarifying 
safety standards.
    The PHMSA is the DOT agency with regulatory authority over the safe 
and reliable transportation of hazardous materials by all modes, 
including pipelines. The PHMSA's Hazardous Materials Regulations govern 
the transportation of ethanol and other biofuels and blends by rail, 
air, motor carrier, and barge. The PHMSA's Pipeline Safety Regulations 
cover the transportation by pipeline of all petroleum products, 
including gasoline blended with biofuel. In this Notice, PHMSA sets 
forth a formal determination (for purposes of 49 U.S.C. 60101(a)(4)(B)) 
that the transportation of unblended biofuels by pipeline is subject to 
the agency's jurisdiction and invites comments on the adequacy of 
existing regulatory definitions and standards.
    This Notice also describes and invites comments on the agency's 
ongoing efforts to identify and address the short-, medium-, and long-
term opportunities and challenges associated with transporting 
biofuels. The PHMSA is seeking comments on technical issues, adequacy 
of standards, and research and development needs associated with the 
transportation of biofuels by pipeline. We describe and invite comments 
on the agency's ongoing efforts to prepare communities and emergency 
responders to mitigate hazards associated with transportation involving 
new fuels.

DATES: Please submit comments by September 10, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Comments should reference Docket No. PHMSA-2007-28136 and 
may be submitted in the following ways:
     DOT Web Site: https://dms.dot.gov. To submit comments on 
the DOT electronic docket site, click ``Comment/Submissions,'' click 
``Continue,'' fill in the requested information, click ``Continue,'' 
enter your comment, then click ``Submit.''
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
     Mail: Docket: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket 
Operations, M-30, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., 
Washington, DC 20590.
     Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket 
Operations, M-30, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., 
Washington, DC 20590 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.
     E-Gov Web Site: https://www.regulations.gov. This site 
allows the public to enter comments on any Federal Register notice 
issued by any agency.
    Instructions: Identify the docket number, PHMSA-2007-28136, at the 
beginning of your comments. Mail your comments and send two copies. To 
receive confirmation that PHMSA received your comments, include a self-
addressed stamped postcard. Internet users may submit comments at 
https://www.regulations.gov, and may access all comments received by DOT 
at https://dms.dot.gov by performing a simple search for the docket 
number.

    Note: The PHMSA posts all comments without changes or edits to 
https://dms.dot.gov, including any personal information provided.

Privacy Act Statement

    Anyone can search the electronic form of all comments received in 
response to any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting 
the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an 
association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT's complete Privacy Act 
Statement was published in the Federal Register on April 11, 2000 (65 
FR 19477), and is on the Web at https://dms.dot.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joy Kadnar, Office of Pipeline Safety, 
202-366-4595, or by e-mail at joy.kadnar@dot.gov; Larry White, Office 
of Chief Counsel, 202-366-4400, or by e-mail at lawrence.white@dot.gov; 
or Bob Richard, Office of Hazardous Materials Safety, 202-366-0656, or 
by e-mail at bob.richard@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Energy Policy and the Growing Demand for Biofuels. In August 2005, 
the President signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005, providing 
incentives for the development of renewable energy and establishing the 
foundation for the increased production and use of ethanol and other 
biofuels. Building on the Energy Policy Act's clean energy foundation, 
the President announced the Advanced Energy Initiative in the 2006 
State of the Union Address. The Advanced Energy Initiative focuses on 
increasing research and development to encourage technological 
breakthroughs in the transportation and power sectors that will 
diversify our resource portfolio. Together, these initiatives will 
reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil by increasing the use of renewable 
fuels, such as ethanol and other biofuels.
    Today, nearly half of all U.S. gasoline contains some ethanol 
(mostly blended at the 10 percent level or lower). In 2006, the U.S. 
consumed roughly five billion gallons of biofuels (mostly ethanol); 
these five billion gallons were blended into roughly 65 billion gallons 
of gasoline. Federal energy policy favors rapid growth in biofuels over 
the next decade. In his 2007 State of the Union Address, President Bush 
challenged the Nation to reduce consumption of oil by 20 percent over 
the next ten years. The President's 20-in-10 plan calls for expanding 
consumption of alternative fuels (including biofuels) from five billion 
gallons in 2007 to 35 billion gallons in 2017.
    Transportation Requirements. In support of the 20-in-10 plan, DOT 
is stepping up efforts to identify and address transportation issues 
associated with increased use of biofuels. Because our national 
transportation system is fueled largely by refined petroleum products, 
the transition to higher concentration biofuel blends has implications 
for most DOT programs, including fuel efficiency and safety programs 
administered by DOT's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
    This Notice focuses specifically on the movement of biofuels and 
biofuel blends as commodities in transportation and the need for safe, 
cost-effective transportation solutions. Most ethanol in use today is 
transported from production or import locations by highway, rail, and/
or barge and blended with gasoline at or near the point of

[[Page 45003]]

retail distribution. To sustain market growth needed to meet current 
targets, we believe that pipelines must be an option for high-volume 
transportation of biofuel products.
    A large pipeline can transport roughly two million barrels of 
gasoline a day. By way of comparison, 9,375 large semi-truck tankers 
are required to transport two million barrels of product. It takes 
twenty-four 100-car unit trains extending three miles each, or ten 15-
unit barge tows, to transport two million barrels. Trucks, vessels, and 
trains consume diesel or other liquid fuels and also contribute to 
congestion in our Nation's freight and passenger transportation 
corridors. Further, as the National Transportation Safety Board has 
observed, pipeline transportation has a consistently lower accident 
rate than other modes.
    Facilitating Transportation Solutions. Within the Federal 
Government, PHMSA has regulatory responsibility for the protection of 
people, property, and the environment from the risks of pipeline 
transportation. The agency carries out this responsibility through 
regulation, oversight, enforcement, emergency response preparation, and 
research and development, all targeted at reducing the likelihood and 
consequence of pipeline incidents. The PHMSA's Integrity Management 
regulations for hazardous liquid pipelines require operators to develop 
and implement comprehensive plans for addressing the range of risks 
facing their pipelines, taking account of all relevant risk variables, 
including the nature and properties of the particular hazardous 
materials moved.
    The PHMSA is working with other Federal agencies and a broad 
enterprise of stakeholders--including industry, standards 
organizations, and emergency responders--to ensure that adequate design 
and operating standards for biofuel pipelines are in place or, if 
necessary, can be further developed in accordance with current pipeline 
data and technology. The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the 
Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) have provided PHMSA with 
information on their progress analyzing safety and integrity issues 
associated with biofuel pipelines and shared a proposed research agenda 
with PHMSA and other agencies. The PHMSA has begun a technical 
assessment with the Pipeline Research Council International on the 
potential for ethanol induced stress corrosion cracking in existing 
pipeline infrastructure used to transport ethanol and various ethanol 
blended fuels. Using its authority under chapter 601 of the U.S. Code, 
PHMSA expanded its research and development efforts to focus on short-, 
medium- and long-term challenges of transporting biofuels in existing 
products pipelines and in dedicated biofuel pipelines.
    The PHMSA participates on various panels and working groups, 
including the DOT Biofuels Panel and the 20-in-10 Biofuels Working 
Group, and collaborates on biofuel activities with other agencies and 
organizations. To better understand the opportunities, challenges, and 
potential technical issues, PHMSA invited speakers to its February 2007 
Research and Development Forum in New Orleans, Louisiana to discuss 
current standards and technical studies and to identify research and 
development gaps related to biofuel transportation by pipeline. As 
discussed more fully below, PHMSA has also partnered with the emergency 
response community to upgrade education and training efforts and 
develop optimal response techniques and procedures for responding to 
biofuel spill incidents.

1. Pipeline Research and Development--Invitation To Comment

    The PHMSA is targeting some of its research and development 
activity at advancing the most promising technologies for the safe 
operation of biofuel pipelines. The challenge is to identify and 
quantify any safety and reliability threats to biofuel pipelines and to 
remove or manage these threats through a risk-based, data driven 
integrity management approach.
    Although pipelines are highly efficient, they have not been used on 
a widespread basis for transporting gasoline-ethanol blends. This is 
partially a function of unresolved technical and operational issues 
that would affect both the use of existing products pipelines and the 
prospect of building new, dedicated biofuel pipelines. These include 
metallurgical issues, such as internal corrosion and stress corrosion 
cracking, and operational issues, including the performance of seals, 
gaskets and internal coatings. The PHMSA expects these technical issues 
to be resolved through ongoing short-term technical assessments and 
longer-range research and development.
    The risk of product contamination is also a significant factor. The 
PHMSA understands that the industry is concerned about the ability of 
transported gasoline-ethanol blends to meet the ASTM specification for 
gasoline, D 4814--Standard Specification for Automotive Spark-Ignition 
Engine Fuel due to ethanol's sensitivity to water. The U.S. pipeline 
system is a ``wet system'' with moisture introduced from the transport 
of various products. Unless measures are undertaken to remove or 
control moisture in the system, ethanol and ethanol blends could 
potentially absorb water and arrive at destination off specification. 
Additionally, many pipeline segments may need to undergo preparatory 
cleaning to remove built up lacquers, gums, and deposits in the system. 
Otherwise, the solvency effect of ethanol could remove such deposits, 
potentially contaminating the ethanol and trailing products in the 
system.
    These issues are challenging, but by no means insurmountable. 
Research and development focusing on metallurgical, operational, and 
maintenance issues should aid in their resolution and will build 
confidence in the use of pipelines as the primary carrier of large 
volumes of gasoline-ethanol blends. The PHMSA is reaching out to a 
broad enterprise of stakeholders to better understand and help address 
all anticipated challenges to the transportation of biofuels and 
biofuel blends by pipeline. We will partner with other agencies, 
standards organizations, and private industry to coordinate research 
projects to avoid redundant efforts.
    The research strategy put forward by API and AOPL, for example, 
suggests an approach that:
    A. Identifies which blends can be moved in existing systems with 
little or no modification to the system;
    B. Identifies which blends can be moved in existing systems with 
appreciable modifications; and
    C. Identifies which blends cannot be practically moved in existing 
systems but could be moved in specially designed new transmission or 
short-haul distribution systems.

Research would be focused on the near-term operational and system 
integrity issues associated with transporting blends such as E10, E20 
and E85 in existing petroleum products pipelines. Issues that need to 
be addressed include water pick-up, phase separation, material effects, 
solvent effects, the use of drag reducing agents, transmix injection 
and processing, and other ways operational processes may be affected.
    The PHMSA encourages researchers to identify pipeline system 
modifications that address the unique risks associated with biofuels 
without rendering the pipeline unsuitable for transporting traditional 
energy commodities and identify those blends that cannot be practically 
transported in pipelines without a major overhaul. Additional research 
would focus on the

[[Page 45004]]

potential for integrity threats, such as stress corrosion cracking, 
associated with the long-term use of existing pipeline infrastructure 
and dedicated biofuel pipelines. This research should lead to the 
development of long-term mitigation strategies, design and operating 
specifications, and guidelines for the construction of new pipelines 
dedicated to ethanol or biofuel service.
    The PHMSA recently issued a Broad Agency Announcement seeking white 
papers on research and development projects and coordinated programs to 
address issues associated with transportation of ethanol and biofuels 
by pipeline. The PHMSA is requesting information from pipeline 
operators, standards development bodies and organizations, trade 
associations, government agencies, other organizations, and the public 
regarding research and development, the adequacy of existing standards, 
and any other pertinent issues related to ethanol and other biofuels 
transportation by pipeline. Ultimately, the goal is to work with 
standards developing organizations to move this new knowledge into 
consensus standards.

2. Emergency Response--Invitation To Comment

    The PHMSA has a long-standing partnership with the emergency 
response community. We have taken steps to educate responders on hazard 
communication and identification, safe incident mitigation, and fire 
suppression measures for responding to spill incidents involving 
ethanol and other biofuels in transportation. Because of ethanol's 
characteristics, specific emergency response measures must be taken by 
pipeline operators and first responders in the event of a release, 
including the use of appropriate extinguishing agents and foams. The 
PHMSA has partnered with the National Association of State Fire 
Marshals (NASFM), the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the 
International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the National Fire 
Protection Association, the Independent Liquid Terminal Association 
(ILTA), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Kidde Fire 
Fighting, and other organizations and individuals in order to assist in 
educating first responders in fighting ethanol fires. The primary 
purpose of this coalition is to bring together key stakeholders to 
share information on various projects and efforts. A number of projects 
have been initiated that involve testing of various foams and other 
extinguishing agents, as well as the development of training materials 
for emergency responders.
    In June 2006, PHMSA issued a Safety Alert to provide emergency 
responders with guidance on appropriate procedures for responding to 
incidents involving fuel mixtures containing ethanol (https://
hazmat.dot.gov/E-85_042606.pdf). In addition, PHMSA provides Hazardous 
Material Emergency Preparedness Grants to emergency responders for 
planning and training, including training for responses to incidents 
involving ethanol-gasoline mixtures. To help emergency responders 
utilize the most effective emergency response procedures for incidents 
involving fuel mixtures containing ethanol (or ``ethyl alcohol'') and 
gasoline in various concentrations, PHMSA has proposed establishing a 
specific United Nations (UN) identification number and proper shipping 
name for ethanol-gasoline blended fuels with more than ten percent 
ethanol.
    In August 2006, PHMSA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 
proposing to add a new entry ``Ethanol and gasoline mixture or Ethanol 
and motor spirit or Ethanol and petrol mixture, with more than ten 
percent ethanol, 3, UN3475, II'' to the Hazardous Materials Table 
(HMT). The PHMSA also proposed revising the entry for ``Gasohol 
gasoline mixed with ethyl alcohol, with not more than 20 percent 
alcohol, 3, NA1203, II'' to limit this entry to gasoline mixtures with 
no more than ten percent alcohol. The 2004 Emergency Response Guidebook 
(ERG2004) refers to Guide 127 (Flammable Liquids Polar/Water-Miscible) 
for response to incidents involving Alcohols, n.o.s., 3, UN1987, and 
Denatured alcohol, 3, NA1987. Guide 127 specifies the use of alcohol 
resistant foam. In early 2008, PHMSA will publish and distribute an 
updated ERG. The updated ERG will include appropriate guidance for the 
initial response to incidents involving ethanol-gasoline mixtures and 
will also include information on pipeline markers.
    The PHMSA encourages State fire marshals and other first responders 
to inform us about issues associated with emergency response for 
biofuel incidents including the need for studies of the effectiveness 
of response techniques and the development of educational materials. We 
are interested in comments relative to how mixtures of ethanol and 
gasoline varying between 10 percent to 20 percent should be addressed 
and if additional research is needed to assess particular 
characteristics of these mixtures, how they should be described, and 
the appropriate response methods.

3. Oversight of Pipelines Transporting Biofuels and Biofuel Blends--
Invitation To Comment

    Pursuant to the pipeline safety laws, 49 U.S.C. 60101 et seq., 
PHMSA has jurisdiction over the design, construction, operation and 
maintenance of pipelines transporting ``hazardous liquids.'' By 
statute, the term ``hazardous liquid'' refers to ``petroleum or a 
petroleum product'' and ``a substance the Secretary of Transportation 
decides may pose an unreasonable risk to life or property'' when 
transported by pipeline in a liquid state. 49 U.S.C. 60101(a)(4). Under 
this authority, PHMSA previously has established safety standards for 
pipelines carrying petroleum, petroleum products, anhydrous ammonia, 
and carbon dioxide in a supercritical or dense vapor state.
    The PHMSA considers all biofuel-gasoline blends to be ``petroleum 
products,'' within the meaning of 49 CFR 195.2, regardless of their 
relative biofuel/gasoline content. Accordingly, any pipeline used to 
transport such blends, whether in batches or in dedicated 
infrastructure, would be subject to PHMSA's existing standards for 
hazardous liquid pipelines. Under those standards, the pipeline 
operator is responsible for establishing that any material moved in the 
pipeline ``is chemically compatible with both the pipeline, including 
all components, and any other commodity that it may come into contact 
with while in the pipeline.'' (49 CFR 195.4).
    Unblended ethanol and other biofuels produced by biological 
fermentation and vegetable- and animal-oil based biodiesel products are 
not ``petroleum products,'' as we have defined that term (49 CFR 
195.2). However, based on their physical properties, these substances 
clearly meet the alternative definition of ``hazardous liquid'' under 
49 U.S.C. 60101(a)(4)(B). Ethanol is a highly flammable liquid with 
explosive limits in the range of 3.5 percent to 19 percent in air and a 
flash point of 54 degrees Fahrenheit. (By comparison, the explosive 
range for natural gas varies between five and 15 percent in air. 
Substances with a flash point lower than 100 degrees Fahrenheit are 
considered flammable.) The flash point of an ethanol-water mixture 
increases as ethanol is diluted with water. The flash point of an 80 
percent ethanol/water mix is about 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and for 70 
percent ethanol-water mix is about 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Ethanol 
vapors are also combustible, heavier than air, and may form an 
explosive mixture when combined with air.

[[Page 45005]]

Similar to highly volatile liquids, ethanol vapors may travel 
considerable distances to sources of ignition and flash back. Pure or 
highly concentrated ethanol (E-85) may permanently damage living tissue 
on contact. Exposure to ethanol vapors in high concentrations or for 
prolonged periods is harmful to human health. In concentrations greater 
than 50 percent, ethanol can cause local dehydration and lesions. 
Absorption, which occurs swiftly from the gastrointestinal tract, 
causes euphoria, with subsequent dizziness, inebriation, paralysis, 
diminished reflex, excitability, cyanosis, narcosis and respiratory 
paralysis.
    For these reasons, ethanol and other biofuels are substances that 
may pose ``unreasonable risks to life or property,'' within the meaning 
of 49 U.S.C. 60101(a)(4)(B)). Accordingly, these materials constitute 
``hazardous liquids'' for purposes of the pipeline safety laws and 
regulations.
    The PHMSA is considering whether it is necessary to amend the 
definition of hazardous liquid in 49 CFR 195.2 to expressly include 
ethanol and biofuels. Such an amendment would confirm that the 
transportation of pure ethanol or biofuels by dedicated biofuel 
pipelines is subject to Part 195. If biofuels will always be denatured 
by blending them with petroleum products prior to transporting them by 
pipeline, however, amending this regulatory definition may be 
unnecessary. Accordingly, PHMSA invites comments on whether we should 
amend 49 CFR Part 195 to expressly include (non-blended) ethanol and 
biofuels in the definition of hazardous liquid. The PHMSA also seeks 
comments on whether any of the existing requirements for hazardous 
liquid pipelines in Part 195 should not apply to ethanol and biofuel 
pipelines and if not, why not. Additionally, we invite comments on 
whether there is a need for any requirements to specifically address 
pipelines transporting ethanol and biofuels.
    After PHMSA reviews any comments and other information received in 
response to this notice, we will announce any additional activities 
PHMSA plans to undertake or coordinate in these areas. If we determine, 
after reviewing the comments, that Part 195 should be amended to 
address the transportation of biofuel or biofuel-gasoline blends, we 
will publish any proposed amendment for public comment in accordance 
with the Administrative Procedures Act.

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 60101 et seq.

    Issued in Washington, DC on July 31, 2007.
Thomas J. Barrett,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. E7-15615 Filed 8-9-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-60-P