Pipeline Safety: Grant of Special Permit; Key West Pipeline Company, 8104-8106 [E8-2533]

Download as PDF 8104 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 29 / Tuesday, February 12, 2008 / Notices No. 108; Lamps, reflective devices and associated equipment, Part 564 submissions are referenced as being the source of information regarding the performance and interchangeability information for legal headlamp light sources, whether original equipment or replacement equipment. Thus, the submitted information about headlamp light sources becomes the basis for certification of compliance with FMVSS No. 108. Estimated Total Annual Burden: 28. Estimated Number of Respondents: 7. Comments are invited on: Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the function of the Department, including whether the information will have practical utility; the accuracy of the Department’s estimate of the burden of the proposed information collected; ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Issued: February 5, 2008. Stephen R. Kratzke, Associate Administrator for Rulemaking. [FR Doc. 08–611 Filed 2–11–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–M DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration [Docket No. PHMSA—2006—25026] Pipeline Safety: Grant of Special Permit; Key West Pipeline Company Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA); DOT. ACTION: Notice; grant of special permit. mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is granting Key West Pipeline Company (KWPC) a special permit waiving compliance from the Federal pipeline safety regulations that require a hazardous liquid pipeline operator to place a marker over the center of an exposed underwater pipeline segment that is less than 200 yards long and to bury an exposed underwater pipeline segment so that the top of the pipe is 36 inches below the underwater natural bottom for normal excavation or 18 inches for rock excavation. PHMSA finds that granting this special permit is not inconsistent with pipeline safety because the special permit analysis VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:46 Feb 11, 2008 Jkt 214001 shows that the KWPC exposed underwater pipeline segment is in a restricted, shallow channel with surrounding water depths that would cause vessels to run aground before contacting the exposed underwater pipeline segment. Also, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) has determined that placing a marker in the channel over the center of the exposed underwater pipeline segment would pose a hazard to navigation. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wayne Lemoi at (404) 832–1160 or by e-mail at Wayne.Lemoi@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Special Permit Request Pipeline Operator: KWPC petitioned PHMSA on January 10, 2006, for a special permit waiving compliance from the Federal pipeline safety regulations in 49 CFR 195.413(c)(2) and 195.413(c)(3) for an exposed underwater pipeline segment in the Key West, Florida area. The regulations require a hazardous liquid pipeline operator to place a marker above the center of an exposed underwater pipeline segment that is less than 200 yards long in accordance with 33 CFR part 64 and to bury an exposed underwater pipeline segment so that the top of the pipe is 36 inches below the underwater natural bottom for normal excavation or 18 inches for rock excavation. The operator must complete the burial of the pipeline within six months after discovery of the exposed pipe, or no later than November 1 of the following year if the six month period is later than November 1 of the year of discovery. Pipeline System Affected: This special permit covers 200 feet of exposed pipe on a four mile underwater pipeline segment that runs from the Trumbo Point Naval Annex of the Key West Naval Air Station, Key West, Florida to Stock Island, Florida. The exposed segment lies in the Fleming Channel immediately adjacent to the Trumbo Point Naval Annex. Both sides of the Fleming Channel, near the exposed pipeline, are bordered by annexes of the Key West Naval Air Station. The four mile underwater pipeline segment is the western portion of the 7.1-mile, 4-inch KWPC pipeline, which transports JP5 jet fuel from KWPC’s Bulk Storage and Transfer Facility on Key West to the U.S. Navy’s bulk fuel storage facility on Boca Chita Key, Florida. The special permit segment is defined as 200 feet of the KWPC pipeline from station 0+00 to station 2+00 as shown in Figure 4 of the KWPC special permit request dated January 10, 2006. PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Public Notice On October 16, 2006, PHMSA posted notice of the KWPC request in the Federal Register (71 FR 60794) inviting interested persons to comment on the request. On February 8, 2007, PHMSA posted another notice in the Federal Register (72 FR 6042) informing the public that we have changed the name granting a waiver to a special permit. We did not receive any comments for or against this special permit request as a result of this notice. The special permit request, Federal Register notice and all other pertinent documents are available for review by the public in Docket Number PHMSA–2006–25026 in the Federal Docket Management System located on the internet at www.Regulations.gov. Special Permit Analysis Background: In response to the Offshore Pipelines Navigation Hazards Act, Public Law 101–599, the Federal pipeline safety regulations in 49 CFR Part 195 were amended on November 27, 1991, to require an inspection of underwater pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico and its inlets to be completed before November 16, 1992. Amendment 195–47 defined the Gulf of Mexico and its inlets to mean the waters from the mean high-water mark of the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and its inlets open to the sea (excluding rivers, tidal marshes, lakes and canals) seaward to include the territorial sea and Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to a depth of 15 feet, as measured from the mean low water. If during an inspection, an operator discovered a pipeline it operates was an exposed underwater pipeline or constituted a hazard to navigation, the operator was required to promptly notify the National Response Center, mark the pipeline within 7 days, and rebury the pipe 36 inches below the seabed for normal excavation or 18 inches below the seabed for rock excavation. The amendment defined exposed underwater pipeline to mean a pipeline where the top of the pipe is protruding above the seabed in water less than 15 feet deep, as measured from the mean low water. It defined a hazard to navigation to mean a pipeline where the top of the pipe is less than 12 inches below the seabed in water less than 15 feet deep, as measured from the mean low water. To gain further information on the risks posed by underwater pipelines, the DOT’s Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) [now PHMSA] and the Department of Interior’s, Minerals Management Service, requested the Marine Board, E:\FR\FM\12FEN1.SGM 12FEN1 mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 29 / Tuesday, February 12, 2008 / Notices Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems, National Research Council conduct an interdisciplinary review and assessment of the many technical, regulatory and jurisdictional issues that affect the safety of marine pipelines in the offshore waters of the United States. The National Research Council appointed the Committee on the Safety of Marine Pipelines (Committee), under the auspices of the Marine Board, to undertake the task. The Committee studied the Gulf of Mexico where about 99 percent of the marine pipeline mileage is located. According to the Committee’s 1994 report, the Committee found the marine pipeline network does not present an extraordinary threat to human life and that pipeline accidents involving deaths or injuries were rare. The Committee also found the most widespread risks posed by pipelines are oil pollution, mainly due to pipeline damage caused by vessels and their gear, and impacts from anchors, nets, trawl boards and hulls of cargo, fishing, and service vessels and mobile drilling rigs account for most of the injuries, deaths, property damage, and pollution. For example, the report notes that anchor damage alone accounted for 90 percent of the pipeline-related pollution on the OCS of the Gulf of Mexico. Moreover, the report states that very few incidents produced most of the oil pollution from pipelines. That is, the largest 11 pipeline spills caused by vessels accounted for 98 percent of the pollution from pipelines. The Committee’s report concluded the risks generally can be managed with available technology and without major new regulations if enforcement of current regulations is improved. The Committee recommended that operators inspect the depth of burial of underwater pipelines at intervals determined by analysis of the probabilities of risks. High risk areas are zones of high density of pipelines; high density of vessel traffic; shallow waters; the immediate vicinity of platforms; areas of severe erosion or shift of the sea floor and high potential for flooding; and areas affected by hurricanes or severe storms. According to the Committee report, operators should schedule surveys of pipelines using the relatively predictable behavior of sediment and shoreline erosion and after the passage of major storms. On July 29, 2004, 49 CFR part 195 was amended (Amendment 195–82) with additional underwater inspection requirements. The new and current regulations require operators to prepare and follow a procedure to identify pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico and its inlets in waters less than 15 feet deep VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:46 Feb 11, 2008 Jkt 214001 (as measured from mean low water) that are at risk of being exposed underwater pipelines or hazards to navigation. The regulations also require each operator to conduct periodic underwater inspections of its pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico and its inlets in waters less than 15 feet deep based on the identified risk. In lieu of reburial of the discovered underwater exposed or hazard to navigation pipeline, the regulations now allow an operator to employ engineered alternatives that meet or exceed the level of protection provided by burial. Pipeline Marker Analysis: In its special permit petition submittals, KWPC asserted that a pipeline marker placed over the center of the KWPC exposed underwater pipeline segment in accordance with 49 CFR 195.413(c)(2) would pose a hazard to navigation in Fleming Channel. Therefore, KWPC proposed an alternate marking method to include a marker on the shorelines of both Key West and Fleming Key as well as an additional marker on the west side of the nearby road bridge linking Key West to Fleming Key. KWPC included with its submittals to PHMSA a letter from the USCG dated September 6, 2005, which approved an alternate marking method. However, the USCG letter did not address KWPC’s claim that a marker placed in the channel above the center of the exposed underwater pipeline segment would create a hazard in the channel. Therefore, PHMSA sought and received additional information on this issue. This information includes a Special Purpose Survey signed and certified on October 2, 2007, by a professional land surveyor registered in the state of Florida. The survey provided the coordinates of the end points and center of the exposed underwater pipeline segment. PHMSA forwarded these coordinates via e-mail to the USCG for evaluation. In a return letter to PHMSA dated November 26, 2007, the USCG stated a ‘‘pipeline crossing sign above the center of the exposed pipeline is considered a hazard to navigation for vessels transiting Fleming Cut in that area’’ and recommended that a standard ‘‘Danger Pipeline Crossing’’ sign be placed on the south side of Fleming Key Cut. KWPC’s alternate marking method includes the USCG recommended sign and two other signs: One on the north side of Fleming Key Cut and one on the nearby road bridge linking Key West to Fleming Key. Hazard to Navigation Analysis: A review of the legislative and rulemaking histories relative to inspecting underwater pipelines reveals the Offshore Pipelines Navigation Hazards PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 8105 Act, Public Law 101–599 and subsequent rulemaking by DOT were intended to protect the public from the hazards associated with pipeline damage caused primarily by commercial fishing vessels in the shallow waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Congress passed the law in response to two fatal accidents in the late 1980s in the Gulf of Mexico near the Texas and Louisiana coastlines. The DOT subsequently published regulations in response to the law and to meet its mandate to protect the public and the environment from the risks posed by underwater natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines. A review of the legislative and rulemaking histories also reveals there was considerable debate about what did, or did not, constitute a hazard to navigation. While the underwater exposed KWPC pipeline segment meets the regulatory definition of a hazard to navigation, there is considerable support for concluding that no actual hazard to navigation exists. This support includes the following facts provided by KWPC: (1) The exposed underwater pipeline segment is located hundreds of miles from the primary area of concern, the northern Gulf of Mexico and its inlets. (2) Commercial fishing vessels of the type used in the northern Gulf of Mexico do not operate in the area of the exposed underwater pipeline segment. (3) The exposed underwater pipeline segment is in Fleming Channel, which is only used by pleasure boats seeking access to Key West Harbor from Garrison Bright and the Key West Yacht Club. (4) Shallow waters in the Fleming Channel (11 feet) and surrounding waters limit the transit traffic in the channel to vessels with drafts less than 6.5 feet, allowing for a minimum clearance of 4.5 feet above the exposed underwater pipeline segment. (5) Navigational charts for the Key West Harbor show the maximum clearance beneath the road bridge linking Key West with Fleming Key is 18 feet. This low bridge clearance restricts the size of vessels able to enter Fleming Channel near the exposed underwater pipeline segment. (6) Navigational charts for Key West Harbor show the exposed underwater pipeline within a restricted, no anchorage area, under U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulation 33 CFR 334.610, Danger Zone and Restricted Area Regulations. (7) Both sides of Fleming Channel, near the exposed pipeline, are part of military annexes belonging to the Key West Naval Air Station. The naval air station has regulations prohibiting E:\FR\FM\12FEN1.SGM 12FEN1 8106 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 29 / Tuesday, February 12, 2008 / Notices anchorage within the vicinity of the exposed underwater pipeline. A letter to KWPC of November 29, 2005, signed by the Chief, Prevention Division, Seventh Coast Guard District, USCG states: ‘‘The pipeline is submerged in a shallow area that is transited solely by recreational vessels and surrounding waters restrict the size of vessels that can transit the Fleming Key Cut. Due to the surrounding water depths, vessels would run aground before contacting the pipeline. Furthermore, covering the pipeline with the appropriate amount of fill would reduce water depth further. Based on the above factors, I have determined the exposed section of pipeline does not pose danger to navigation that requires USCG action under existing statutory authorities.’’ mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES Special Permit Findings PHMSA finds that granting this special permit is not inconsistent with pipeline safety and will provide a level of safety equal to or greater than reburial of the exposed underwater pipeline segment. We do so because the special permit analysis shows the following: (1) The alternate pipeline marking method proposed by KWPC, and agreed to by the USCG, will provide for three pipeline markers in lieu of one pipeline marker and will provide adequate warning to passing boats in Fleming Channel. (2) The alternate pipeline marking method proposed by KWPC, and agreed to by the USCG, will avoid the navigational hazard that would be created by placing a single marker above the center of the exposed underwater pipeline segment. (3) The underwater exposed pipeline segment is in a shallow channel where it is unlikely to be struck by a commercial fishing vessel or gear from a commercial fishing vessel. (4) The underwater exposed pipeline segment is in a shallow channel restricted area where the U.S. Navy enforces a prohibition against anchoring. (5) The USCG states the surrounding water depths would cause vessels to run aground before contacting the underwater exposed pipeline segment. (6) PHMSA is granting this special permit subject to conditions and limitations to ensure KWPC employs an alternate marking method to provide a level of safety equal to or greater than a marker placed above the center of the exposed underwater pipeline segment. (7) PHMSA is granting this special permit subject to conditions and limitations to ensure KWPC employs alternative actions to provide a level of safety equal to or greater than reburial VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:46 Feb 11, 2008 Jkt 214001 of the exposed underwater pipeline segment. Authority: 49 U.S.C. 60118(c)(1) and 49 CFR 1.53. Special Permit Grant Issued in Washington, DC on February 6, 2008. Jeffrey D. Wiese, Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety. [FR Doc. E8–2533 Filed 2–11–08; 8:45 am] PHMSA grants a special permit of compliance from 49 CFR 195.413(c)(2) and 95.413(c)(3) to KWPC for 200 feet of the KWPC pipeline from station 0+00 to station 2+00 as shown in Figure 4 of the KWPC special permit request dated January 10, 2006. Special Permit Conditions Special Permit Limitations PHMSA has the sole authority to make all determinations on whether KWPC has complied with the specified conditions. Should KWPC fail to comply with any conditions of this special permit, or should PHMSA determine this special permit is no longer appropriate or that this special permit is inconsistent with pipeline safety, PHMSA may revoke this special permit and require KWPC to comply with the regulatory requirements of 49 CFR 195.413(c)(2) and 195.413(c)(3). Frm 00077 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Surface Transportation Board PHMSA grants this special permit with the following conditions: (1) KWPC will place signs on the shoreline of Key West and Fleming Key, immediately adjacent to the exposed underwater pipeline segment with the following information: WARNING Restricted Area Transit Only No Stopping or Anchoring Within 100 Yards of Shore Underwater Utility 33 CFR 334.610 (2) KWPC will place a similar sign on the west side of the road bridge linking Key West to Fleming Key. (3) In addition to the 5-year inspections performed under KWPC’s procedures for inspections of underwater segments in the Gulf of Mexico in waters less than 15 feet deep, KWPC will inspect the exposed underwater pipeline segment on an annual basis to confirm that there has been no material change in the condition of the exposed underwater pipeline segment. (4) KWPC will notify the Director, PHMSA Southern Region within 30 days, in writing, of any a. material change in condition of the exposed underwater pipeline segment found during any annual or 5-year inspection; b. any reportable or non-reportable leaks or incidents on the KWPC pipeline, which impact the exposed underwater pipeline segment; and c. mergers, acquisitions, transfer of assets or other events affecting the regulatory responsibility of the company operating the KWPC pipeline. PO 00000 BILLING CODE 4910–60–P [STB Finance Docket No. 35095] The Alaska Railroad Corporation— Petition for Exemption To Construct and Operate a Rail Line Extension to Port MacKenzie, AK Surface Transportation Board. Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement; Notice of Availability of the Draft Scope of Study for the Environmental Impact Statement; Notice of Scoping Meetings; and Request for Comments on Draft Scope. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: The Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) plans to file a petition with the Surface Transportation Board (Board) pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 10502 for authority to construct and operate approximately 30 to 45 miles of new rail line connecting the MatanuskaSusitna Borough’s Port MacKenzie (or Port) in south-central Alaska to a point on the ARRC main line between Wasilla and north of Willow, Alaska. The proposed Port MacKenzie Rail Extension (or Project) would provide freight services between the Port and Interior Alaska and would support the Port’s continuing development as an intermodal and bulk material resources export and import facility. The Port is owned by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough (MSB) and MSB is a co-sponsor of the Project. Because the construction and operation of this Project has the potential to result in significant environmental impacts, the Board’s Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA) has determined that the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is appropriate pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). The purpose of this Notice of Intent is to notify individuals and agencies interested in or affected by the proposed Project of the decision to prepare an EIS. SEA will hold public scoping meetings as part of the NEPA process associated with the development of the EIS. Additionally, as part of the scoping process, SEA has developed a draft Scope of Study for the E:\FR\FM\12FEN1.SGM 12FEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 29 (Tuesday, February 12, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 8104-8106]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-2533]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

[Docket No. PHMSA--2006--25026]


Pipeline Safety: Grant of Special Permit; Key West Pipeline 
Company

AGENCY: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA); 
DOT.

ACTION: Notice; grant of special permit.

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

SUMMARY: The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration 
(PHMSA) is granting Key West Pipeline Company (KWPC) a special permit 
waiving compliance from the Federal pipeline safety regulations that 
require a hazardous liquid pipeline operator to place a marker over the 
center of an exposed underwater pipeline segment that is less than 200 
yards long and to bury an exposed underwater pipeline segment so that 
the top of the pipe is 36 inches below the underwater natural bottom 
for normal excavation or 18 inches for rock excavation. PHMSA finds 
that granting this special permit is not inconsistent with pipeline 
safety because the special permit analysis shows that the KWPC exposed 
underwater pipeline segment is in a restricted, shallow channel with 
surrounding water depths that would cause vessels to run aground before 
contacting the exposed underwater pipeline segment. Also, the United 
States Coast Guard (USCG) has determined that placing a marker in the 
channel over the center of the exposed underwater pipeline segment 
would pose a hazard to navigation.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wayne Lemoi at (404) 832-1160 or by e-
mail at Wayne.Lemoi@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Special Permit Request

    Pipeline Operator: KWPC petitioned PHMSA on January 10, 2006, for a 
special permit waiving compliance from the Federal pipeline safety 
regulations in 49 CFR 195.413(c)(2) and 195.413(c)(3) for an exposed 
underwater pipeline segment in the Key West, Florida area. The 
regulations require a hazardous liquid pipeline operator to place a 
marker above the center of an exposed underwater pipeline segment that 
is less than 200 yards long in accordance with 33 CFR part 64 and to 
bury an exposed underwater pipeline segment so that the top of the pipe 
is 36 inches below the underwater natural bottom for normal excavation 
or 18 inches for rock excavation. The operator must complete the burial 
of the pipeline within six months after discovery of the exposed pipe, 
or no later than November 1 of the following year if the six month 
period is later than November 1 of the year of discovery.
    Pipeline System Affected: This special permit covers 200 feet of 
exposed pipe on a four mile underwater pipeline segment that runs from 
the Trumbo Point Naval Annex of the Key West Naval Air Station, Key 
West, Florida to Stock Island, Florida. The exposed segment lies in the 
Fleming Channel immediately adjacent to the Trumbo Point Naval Annex. 
Both sides of the Fleming Channel, near the exposed pipeline, are 
bordered by annexes of the Key West Naval Air Station. The four mile 
underwater pipeline segment is the western portion of the 7.1-mile, 4-
inch KWPC pipeline, which transports JP5 jet fuel from KWPC's Bulk 
Storage and Transfer Facility on Key West to the U.S. Navy's bulk fuel 
storage facility on Boca Chita Key, Florida. The special permit segment 
is defined as 200 feet of the KWPC pipeline from station 0+00 to 
station 2+00 as shown in Figure 4 of the KWPC special permit request 
dated January 10, 2006.

Public Notice

    On October 16, 2006, PHMSA posted notice of the KWPC request in the 
Federal Register (71 FR 60794) inviting interested persons to comment 
on the request. On February 8, 2007, PHMSA posted another notice in the 
Federal Register (72 FR 6042) informing the public that we have changed 
the name granting a waiver to a special permit. We did not receive any 
comments for or against this special permit request as a result of this 
notice. The special permit request, Federal Register notice and all 
other pertinent documents are available for review by the public in 
Docket Number PHMSA-2006-25026 in the Federal Docket Management System 
located on the internet at www.Regulations.gov.

Special Permit Analysis

    Background: In response to the Offshore Pipelines Navigation 
Hazards Act, Public Law 101-599, the Federal pipeline safety 
regulations in 49 CFR Part 195 were amended on November 27, 1991, to 
require an inspection of underwater pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico and 
its inlets to be completed before November 16, 1992. Amendment 195-47 
defined the Gulf of Mexico and its inlets to mean the waters from the 
mean high-water mark of the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and its inlets 
open to the sea (excluding rivers, tidal marshes, lakes and canals) 
seaward to include the territorial sea and Outer Continental Shelf 
(OCS) to a depth of 15 feet, as measured from the mean low water.
    If during an inspection, an operator discovered a pipeline it 
operates was an exposed underwater pipeline or constituted a hazard to 
navigation, the operator was required to promptly notify the National 
Response Center, mark the pipeline within 7 days, and rebury the pipe 
36 inches below the seabed for normal excavation or 18 inches below the 
seabed for rock excavation. The amendment defined exposed underwater 
pipeline to mean a pipeline where the top of the pipe is protruding 
above the seabed in water less than 15 feet deep, as measured from the 
mean low water. It defined a hazard to navigation to mean a pipeline 
where the top of the pipe is less than 12 inches below the seabed in 
water less than 15 feet deep, as measured from the mean low water.
    To gain further information on the risks posed by underwater 
pipelines, the DOT's Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) [now PHMSA] and 
the Department of Interior's, Minerals Management Service, requested 
the Marine Board,

[[Page 8105]]

Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems, National Research 
Council conduct an interdisciplinary review and assessment of the many 
technical, regulatory and jurisdictional issues that affect the safety 
of marine pipelines in the offshore waters of the United States. The 
National Research Council appointed the Committee on the Safety of 
Marine Pipelines (Committee), under the auspices of the Marine Board, 
to undertake the task. The Committee studied the Gulf of Mexico where 
about 99 percent of the marine pipeline mileage is located.
    According to the Committee's 1994 report, the Committee found the 
marine pipeline network does not present an extraordinary threat to 
human life and that pipeline accidents involving deaths or injuries 
were rare. The Committee also found the most widespread risks posed by 
pipelines are oil pollution, mainly due to pipeline damage caused by 
vessels and their gear, and impacts from anchors, nets, trawl boards 
and hulls of cargo, fishing, and service vessels and mobile drilling 
rigs account for most of the injuries, deaths, property damage, and 
pollution. For example, the report notes that anchor damage alone 
accounted for 90 percent of the pipeline-related pollution on the OCS 
of the Gulf of Mexico. Moreover, the report states that very few 
incidents produced most of the oil pollution from pipelines. That is, 
the largest 11 pipeline spills caused by vessels accounted for 98 
percent of the pollution from pipelines. The Committee's report 
concluded the risks generally can be managed with available technology 
and without major new regulations if enforcement of current regulations 
is improved.
    The Committee recommended that operators inspect the depth of 
burial of underwater pipelines at intervals determined by analysis of 
the probabilities of risks. High risk areas are zones of high density 
of pipelines; high density of vessel traffic; shallow waters; the 
immediate vicinity of platforms; areas of severe erosion or shift of 
the sea floor and high potential for flooding; and areas affected by 
hurricanes or severe storms. According to the Committee report, 
operators should schedule surveys of pipelines using the relatively 
predictable behavior of sediment and shoreline erosion and after the 
passage of major storms.
    On July 29, 2004, 49 CFR part 195 was amended (Amendment 195-82) 
with additional underwater inspection requirements. The new and current 
regulations require operators to prepare and follow a procedure to 
identify pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico and its inlets in waters less 
than 15 feet deep (as measured from mean low water) that are at risk of 
being exposed underwater pipelines or hazards to navigation. The 
regulations also require each operator to conduct periodic underwater 
inspections of its pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico and its inlets in 
waters less than 15 feet deep based on the identified risk. In lieu of 
reburial of the discovered underwater exposed or hazard to navigation 
pipeline, the regulations now allow an operator to employ engineered 
alternatives that meet or exceed the level of protection provided by 
burial.
    Pipeline Marker Analysis: In its special permit petition 
submittals, KWPC asserted that a pipeline marker placed over the center 
of the KWPC exposed underwater pipeline segment in accordance with 49 
CFR 195.413(c)(2) would pose a hazard to navigation in Fleming Channel. 
Therefore, KWPC proposed an alternate marking method to include a 
marker on the shorelines of both Key West and Fleming Key as well as an 
additional marker on the west side of the nearby road bridge linking 
Key West to Fleming Key.
    KWPC included with its submittals to PHMSA a letter from the USCG 
dated September 6, 2005, which approved an alternate marking method. 
However, the USCG letter did not address KWPC's claim that a marker 
placed in the channel above the center of the exposed underwater 
pipeline segment would create a hazard in the channel. Therefore, PHMSA 
sought and received additional information on this issue. This 
information includes a Special Purpose Survey signed and certified on 
October 2, 2007, by a professional land surveyor registered in the 
state of Florida. The survey provided the coordinates of the end points 
and center of the exposed underwater pipeline segment. PHMSA forwarded 
these coordinates via e-mail to the USCG for evaluation. In a return 
letter to PHMSA dated November 26, 2007, the USCG stated a ``pipeline 
crossing sign above the center of the exposed pipeline is considered a 
hazard to navigation for vessels transiting Fleming Cut in that area'' 
and recommended that a standard ``Danger Pipeline Crossing'' sign be 
placed on the south side of Fleming Key Cut. KWPC's alternate marking 
method includes the USCG recommended sign and two other signs: One on 
the north side of Fleming Key Cut and one on the nearby road bridge 
linking Key West to Fleming Key.
    Hazard to Navigation Analysis: A review of the legislative and 
rulemaking histories relative to inspecting underwater pipelines 
reveals the Offshore Pipelines Navigation Hazards Act, Public Law 101-
599 and subsequent rulemaking by DOT were intended to protect the 
public from the hazards associated with pipeline damage caused 
primarily by commercial fishing vessels in the shallow waters of the 
northern Gulf of Mexico. Congress passed the law in response to two 
fatal accidents in the late 1980s in the Gulf of Mexico near the Texas 
and Louisiana coastlines. The DOT subsequently published regulations in 
response to the law and to meet its mandate to protect the public and 
the environment from the risks posed by underwater natural gas and 
hazardous liquid pipelines.
    A review of the legislative and rulemaking histories also reveals 
there was considerable debate about what did, or did not, constitute a 
hazard to navigation. While the underwater exposed KWPC pipeline 
segment meets the regulatory definition of a hazard to navigation, 
there is considerable support for concluding that no actual hazard to 
navigation exists. This support includes the following facts provided 
by KWPC:
    (1) The exposed underwater pipeline segment is located hundreds of 
miles from the primary area of concern, the northern Gulf of Mexico and 
its inlets.
    (2) Commercial fishing vessels of the type used in the northern 
Gulf of Mexico do not operate in the area of the exposed underwater 
pipeline segment.
    (3) The exposed underwater pipeline segment is in Fleming Channel, 
which is only used by pleasure boats seeking access to Key West Harbor 
from Garrison Bright and the Key West Yacht Club.
    (4) Shallow waters in the Fleming Channel (11 feet) and surrounding 
waters limit the transit traffic in the channel to vessels with drafts 
less than 6.5 feet, allowing for a minimum clearance of 4.5 feet above 
the exposed underwater pipeline segment.
    (5) Navigational charts for the Key West Harbor show the maximum 
clearance beneath the road bridge linking Key West with Fleming Key is 
18 feet. This low bridge clearance restricts the size of vessels able 
to enter Fleming Channel near the exposed underwater pipeline segment.
    (6) Navigational charts for Key West Harbor show the exposed 
underwater pipeline within a restricted, no anchorage area, under U.S. 
Army Corps of Engineers regulation 33 CFR 334.610, Danger Zone and 
Restricted Area Regulations.
    (7) Both sides of Fleming Channel, near the exposed pipeline, are 
part of military annexes belonging to the Key West Naval Air Station. 
The naval air station has regulations prohibiting

[[Page 8106]]

anchorage within the vicinity of the exposed underwater pipeline.
    A letter to KWPC of November 29, 2005, signed by the Chief, 
Prevention Division, Seventh Coast Guard District, USCG states:

    ``The pipeline is submerged in a shallow area that is transited 
solely by recreational vessels and surrounding waters restrict the 
size of vessels that can transit the Fleming Key Cut. Due to the 
surrounding water depths, vessels would run aground before 
contacting the pipeline. Furthermore, covering the pipeline with the 
appropriate amount of fill would reduce water depth further. Based 
on the above factors, I have determined the exposed section of 
pipeline does not pose danger to navigation that requires USCG 
action under existing statutory authorities.''

Special Permit Findings

    PHMSA finds that granting this special permit is not inconsistent 
with pipeline safety and will provide a level of safety equal to or 
greater than reburial of the exposed underwater pipeline segment. We do 
so because the special permit analysis shows the following:
    (1) The alternate pipeline marking method proposed by KWPC, and 
agreed to by the USCG, will provide for three pipeline markers in lieu 
of one pipeline marker and will provide adequate warning to passing 
boats in Fleming Channel.
    (2) The alternate pipeline marking method proposed by KWPC, and 
agreed to by the USCG, will avoid the navigational hazard that would be 
created by placing a single marker above the center of the exposed 
underwater pipeline segment.
    (3) The underwater exposed pipeline segment is in a shallow channel 
where it is unlikely to be struck by a commercial fishing vessel or 
gear from a commercial fishing vessel.
    (4) The underwater exposed pipeline segment is in a shallow channel 
restricted area where the U.S. Navy enforces a prohibition against 
anchoring.
    (5) The USCG states the surrounding water depths would cause 
vessels to run aground before contacting the underwater exposed 
pipeline segment.
    (6) PHMSA is granting this special permit subject to conditions and 
limitations to ensure KWPC employs an alternate marking method to 
provide a level of safety equal to or greater than a marker placed 
above the center of the exposed underwater pipeline segment.
    (7) PHMSA is granting this special permit subject to conditions and 
limitations to ensure KWPC employs alternative actions to provide a 
level of safety equal to or greater than reburial of the exposed 
underwater pipeline segment.

Special Permit Grant

    PHMSA grants a special permit of compliance from 49 CFR 
195.413(c)(2) and 95.413(c)(3) to KWPC for 200 feet of the KWPC 
pipeline from station 0+00 to station 2+00 as shown in Figure 4 of the 
KWPC special permit request dated January 10, 2006.

Special Permit Conditions

    PHMSA grants this special permit with the following conditions:
    (1) KWPC will place signs on the shoreline of Key West and Fleming 
Key, immediately adjacent to the exposed underwater pipeline segment 
with the following information:
    WARNING Restricted Area Transit Only No Stopping or Anchoring 
Within 100 Yards of Shore Underwater Utility 33 CFR 334.610
    (2) KWPC will place a similar sign on the west side of the road 
bridge linking Key West to Fleming Key.
    (3) In addition to the 5-year inspections performed under KWPC's 
procedures for inspections of underwater segments in the Gulf of Mexico 
in waters less than 15 feet deep, KWPC will inspect the exposed 
underwater pipeline segment on an annual basis to confirm that there 
has been no material change in the condition of the exposed underwater 
pipeline segment.
    (4) KWPC will notify the Director, PHMSA Southern Region within 30 
days, in writing, of any
    a. material change in condition of the exposed underwater pipeline 
segment found during any annual or 5-year inspection;
    b. any reportable or non-reportable leaks or incidents on the KWPC 
pipeline, which impact the exposed underwater pipeline segment; and
    c. mergers, acquisitions, transfer of assets or other events 
affecting the regulatory responsibility of the company operating the 
KWPC pipeline.

Special Permit Limitations

    PHMSA has the sole authority to make all determinations on whether 
KWPC has complied with the specified conditions. Should KWPC fail to 
comply with any conditions of this special permit, or should PHMSA 
determine this special permit is no longer appropriate or that this 
special permit is inconsistent with pipeline safety, PHMSA may revoke 
this special permit and require KWPC to comply with the regulatory 
requirements of 49 CFR 195.413(c)(2) and 195.413(c)(3).

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 60118(c)(1) and 49 CFR 1.53.

     Issued in Washington, DC on February 6, 2008.
Jeffrey D. Wiese,
Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety.
 [FR Doc. E8-2533 Filed 2-11-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-60-P