Pipeline Safety: Miscellaneous Changes to Pipeline Safety Regulations: Response to Petitions for Reconsideration, 58633-58635 [2015-24763]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 189 / Wednesday, September 30, 2015 / Rules and Regulations removing ‘‘FAR 32.617(a)(2)’’ and adding ‘‘FAR 32.611(a)(2)’’ in its place. List of Subjects in 48 CFR Part 232 Government procurement. [FR Doc. 2015–24786 Filed 9–29–15; 8:45 am] Jennifer L. Hawes, Editor, Defense Acquisition Regulations System. BILLING CODE 5001–06–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Therefore, 48 CFR part 232 is amended as follows: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration PART 232—CONTRACT FINANCING 1. The authority citation for 48 CFR part 232 continues to read as follows: 49 CFR Part 192 ■ [Docket No. PHMSA–2010–0026; Amdt. Nos. 191–23; 192–120; 195–100] Authority: 41 U.S.C. 1303 and 48 CFR chapter 1. 232.605 RIN 2137–AE59 [Redesignated as 232.602] Pipeline Safety: Miscellaneous Changes to Pipeline Safety Regulations: Response to Petitions for Reconsideration 2. Redesignate section 232.605 as 232.602. ■ 3. In the newly redesignated section 232.602, revise the heading to read as follows: ■ 232.602 * * 232.606 Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Final rule; response to petitions for reconsideration. AGENCY: Responsibilities. * * * [Redesignated as 232.603] 4. Redesignate section 232.606 as 232.603. ■ 5. Revise the newly redesignated section 232.603 to read as follows: ■ 232.603 Debt determination. When transferring a case to the contract financing office, follow the procedures at PGI 232.603. 232.610 [Redesignated as 232.604] 6. Redesignate section 232.610 as 232.604. ■ 7. Revise the newly redesignated section 232.604 to read as follows: ■ 232.604 Demand for payment. When issuing a demand for payment of a contract debt, follow the procedures at PGI 232.604. 232.616 [Redesignated as 232.610] 8. Redesignate section 232.616 as 232.610. ■ 9. Revise the newly redesignated section 232.610 to read as follows: ■ 232.610 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES [Redesignated as 232.611] 10. Redesignate section 232.617 as 232.611. ■ 232.611 [Amended] 11. In the newly redesignated section 232.611, amend paragraph (a) by ■ VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:12 Sep 29, 2015 Jkt 235001 Kay McIver, Transportation Specialist, by telephone at 202–366–0113, or by electronic mail at kay.mciver@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Compromising debts. Only the department/agency contract financing offices (see PGI 232.070(c)) are authorized to compromise debts covered by this subpart. 232.617 On March 11, 2015, PHMSA published a final rule amending the pipeline safety regulations to make miscellaneous changes that updated and clarified certain regulatory requirements. These amendments addressed several subject matter areas, including the performance of postconstruction inspections, Type B onshore gas gathering line leak surveys, qualifying plastic pipe joiners, ethanol regulation, pipe transportation, offshore pipeline condition report filing, pressure reduction calculations for hazardous liquid pipeline anomalies, and components fabricated by welding. This final rule responds to petitions for reconsideration of the final rule. DATES: The effective date of the amendment to 49 CFR 192.305, published at 80 FR 12779, March 11, 2015, is delayed indefinitely. PHMSA will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing a new effective date. SUMMARY: I. Background On March 11, 2015, PHMSA published a final rule amending the pipeline safety regulations to make miscellaneous changes that update and clarify certain regulatory requirements (80 FR 12762). These amendments address several subject matter areas, PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 58633 including the performance of postconstruction inspections, Type B onshore gas gathering line leak surveys, qualifying plastic pipe joiners, ethanol regulation, pipe transportation, offshore pipeline condition report filing, pressure reduction calculations for hazardous liquid pipeline anomalies, and components fabricated by welding. II. Petitions for Reconsideration Collectively, PHMSA received four petitions for reconsideration of the final rule from the American Public Gas Association (APGA), the American Gas Association (AGA), the Interstate Natural Gas Association (INGAA), and the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives (NAPSR). The APGA, the AGA, and NAPSR expressed concerns about the provisions of the final rule applicable to construction inspection in § 192.305. INGAA and the AGA expressed concerns applicable to provisions in the final rule applicable to components fabricated by welding. Components Fabricated by Welding; 49 CFR 192.153 and 192.165(b)(3) In the final rule published on March 11, 2015, PHMSA added paragraph (e) to § 192.153 requiring that ‘‘a component having a design pressure established under paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) of this section and subject to the strength testing requirements of § 192.505(b) must be tested to at least 1.5 times the MAOP.’’ PHMSA also modified § 192.165(b)(3) to crossreference this new subsection. In the preamble to the final rule, PHMSA noted ‘‘this proposal is not a change to the current pressure testing requirements found in Part 192, but [is] simply a clarification to ensure a clearer understanding of PHMSA’s pressure testing requirements for certain ASME BPVC vessels located in compressor stations, meter stations and other Class 3 or Class 4 locations’’ (80 FR 12772, March 11, 2015). On April 10, 2015, INGAA and AGA filed separate petitions for reconsideration with PHMSA regarding this change (Docket No. PHMSA–2010– 0026). INGAA stated that PHMSA’s modifications to these code sections were not merely a clarification, but a departure from industry and agency understanding and practice, and require additional review. Specifically, INGAA claimed that PHMSA changed the acceptable test factor for a pressure vessel built under the American Society or Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC) from the ASME requirements of 1.3 times the Maximum Allowable Working Pressure E:\FR\FM\30SER1.SGM 30SER1 58634 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 189 / Wednesday, September 30, 2015 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES (MAWP) to 1.5 times the Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP). INGAA and AGA requested that PHMSA reconsider this change due to a lack of technical justification and regulatory support, asking PHMSA to, at a minimum, conduct a study to validate the future use of 1.5 times MAOP for ASME pressure vessels and create an exception for ASME pressure vessels that were put into operation between July 14, 2004 (when the 1.3 factor was adopted by ASME) and October 1, 2015 (the final rule’s effective date). After reviewing INGAA’s and AGA’s petitions for reconsideration, the language in the final rule, and the Pipeline Safety Regulations (PSR), PHMSA disagrees with the petitioners’ claim that the change, as written, was a departure from industry and agency understanding. The pressure testing requirements in the PSR for pipelines in Class 3 and 4 areas, as well as facilities located in Class 1 and 2 areas, are subject to the requirements of § 192.505(b) and require a pressure test equal to a minimum of 1.5 times the MAOP. The testing requirements of § 192.505(b), which were not revised in the final rule, state that in a Class 1 or Class 2 location, each compressor station, regulator station, and measuring station must be tested to at least Class 3 location test requirements. PHMSA believes the amendment to § 192.153 and the corresponding cross-reference with § 192.165(b)(3) simply clarify the regulations, is consistent with existing agency understanding and practice, and ensures regulated parties do not incorrectly use the newer ASME BPVC design factor of 1.3 for pressure testing in instances where pipelines must be tested at 1.5 times MAOP. Regarding INGAA’s request to create an exception for ASME pressure vessels put into operation between July 14, 2004, and October 1, 2015, from the requirements found at § 192.153(e), PHMSA is considering INGAA’s request and will be evaluating the potential costs and environmental implications to operators to retest the non-compliant pressure vessels. Responsibility To Conduct Construction Inspections; 49 CFR 192.305 Prior to the issuance of the final rule on March 11, 2015, § 192.305 stated that ‘‘each transmission pipeline or main must be inspected to ensure that it is constructed in accordance with this part,’’ and § 195.204 stated ‘‘inspection must be provided to ensure the installation of pipe or pipeline systems in accordance with the requirements of this subpart.’’ In the final rule issued on March 11, 2015, PHMSA amended VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:12 Sep 29, 2015 Jkt 235001 § 192.305 to specify that a pipeline operator must not use operator personnel to perform a required inspection if the operator personnel also performed the construction task that required inspection. This amendment was based, in part, on a petition (Docket No. PHMSA–2010–0026) from the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives (NAPSR),1 which suggested that contractors who install transmission lines or mains should be prohibited from inspecting their own work for compliance purposes. On Wednesday, July 11, 2012, the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee recommended that PHMSA adopt the amendment. On April 10, 2015, the APGA petitioned for a clarification, or in the alternative, a reconsideration of the final rule. The APGA stated that the amendment to § 192.305 has the potential to impose significant costs on publicly-owned gas distribution systems with little, if any, corresponding safety benefit. The APGA stated that if a utility has only one qualified crew that works together to construct distribution mains, there would not be anyone working for the utility available and qualified to perform the inspection. According to the APGA, 585 municipal gas utilities have 5 or fewer employees. The APGA went on to say that prohibiting small utilities from having their own employees inspect pipeline construction work performed by employees of the municipal utility would significantly increase the costs for those utilities by requiring small utilities to contract with third parties for such inspections. The APGA stated that its concerns would be alleviated by a clarification stating a two-man utility crew may inspect each other’s work and comply with the amendment to § 192.305. On April 10, 2015, the AGA petitioned PHMSA to extend the compliance date for the amendments in § 192.305 and § 195.204 from October 1, 2015, to January 1, 2016. The AGA asked for this additional time to allow pipeline operators to modify their construction inspection procedures, align associated documentation, and ensure proper training is in place for both company employees and contractors. On July 28, 2015, NAPSR petitioned PHMSA to reconsider the revision of 1 NAPSR is a non-profit organization of state pipeline safety personnel who serve to promote pipeline safety in the United States and its territories. Its membership includes the staff manager responsible for regulating pipeline safety from each state that is certified to do so or conducts inspections under an agreement with DOT in lieu of certification. PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 § 192.305, as it undermines the 2002 NAPSR CR–1–02 resolution. NAPSR asked for a delay in the effective date of the final rule relative to § 192.305 until PHMSA has reviewed the rule and worked with NAPSR to address its concerns. According to NAPSR, allowing contractor personnel to inspect the work performed by their own company does not remove the inherent conflict of interest that is present and defeats the safety benefits that NAPSR intended. NAPSR stated that its original resolution would have prohibited contractors from self-inspecting their own work. NAPSR noted that, unfortunately, the final rule’s amendment specifically allows contract personnel to inspect the work of their own crews so long as the inspector did not directly perform the task being inspected. Additionally, the amendment appears to apply to operator construction personnel as well, which was not NAPSR’s original intent since, in its experience, operator personnel have less of an incentive to accept poorquality work. Further, the final rule mistakenly decreases the scope of the inspection by changing the inspection requirements to only those found in Subpart G for the construction of mains and transmission lines,, rather than in all of Part 192 as it was prior to the amendment. As stated in the final rule, PHMSA believes that these construction inspections are important safety requirements because transmission pipelines and distribution mains are usually buried after construction, and subsequent examinations of these pipelines often involve a difficult excavation process. Upon further examination of the impacts of this amendment, in particular the issues raised by the petitioners, PHMSA believes that further examination and analysis of this safety issue is warranted prior to this change going into effect. Therefore, PHMSA is delaying the effective date of the amendment to 49 CFR 192.305 indefinitely. During this delay, PHMSA will be evaluating the ways operators are currently complying with § 192.305, developing guidance (based on input from industry and other regulatory bodies) and hosting a series of workshops on the guidance. Upon completion of this evaluation, PHMSA will determine the efficacy of the amendment and decide if any additional amendments to the current regulations are warranted and to propose any necessary amendments to § 192.305. Please note, the effective date for all the other amendments contained in the final rule remains October 1, 2015. E:\FR\FM\30SER1.SGM 30SER1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 189 / Wednesday, September 30, 2015 / Rules and Regulations III. Regulatory Analyses and Notices Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures This final rule is a non-significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735) and therefore was not reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. This final rule is not significant under the Regulatory Policies and Procedures of the Department of Transportation (44 FR 11034). This final rule will not impose increased compliance costs on the regulated industry. The amendments to the March 11, 2015 final rule provide regulatory relief to pipeline operators involved in construction inspection and do not alter the cost benefit analysis and conclusions. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 This final rule does not impose unfunded mandates under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995. It would not result in costs of $100 million, adjusted for inflation, or more in any one year to either State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or to the private sector, and is the least burdensome alternative that achieves the objective of the final rule. Paperwork Reduction Act National Environmental Policy Act The National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321–4375) requires that Federal agencies analyze final actions to determine whether those actions will have a significant impact on the human environment. The Council on Environmental Quality regulations requires Federal agencies to conduct an environmental review considering (1) the need for the final action, (2) alternatives to the final action, (3) probable environmental impacts of the final action and alternatives, and (4) the agencies and persons consulted during the consideration process. 40 CFR 1508.9(b). The amendment adopted in this final rule will not impose increased compliance costs on the regulated industry or have any measureable effect on our original assessment. The amendments to the March 11, 2015, final rule provide regulatory relief to pipeline operators involved in construction inspection. Overall, this final rule will reduce the compliance burden without compromising pipeline safety. Therefore, PHMSA has determined that this final rule will not have a significant impact on the human environment. This final rule imposes no new requirements for recordkeeping and reporting. Privacy Act Statement Anyone may search the electronic form of all comments received for any Regulatory Flexibility Act mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), PHMSA must consider whether rulemaking actions would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This final rule will not impose increased compliance costs on the regulated industry. The delay in the effective date to § 192.305 does not alter our original certification that the March 11, 2015 final rule does not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. Therefore, I certify under Section 605 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605) that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:12 Sep 29, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 58635 of our dockets. You may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement published in the Federal Register on April 11, 2000 (70 FR 19477). Executive Order 13132 PHMSA has analyzed this final rule according to Executive Order 13132 (‘‘Federalism’’). This final rule does not have a substantial direct effect on the States, the relationship between the national government and the States, or the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. This final rule does not impose substantial direct compliance costs on State and local governments. This final rule does not preempt State law for intrastate pipelines. Therefore, the consultation and funding requirements of Executive Order 13132 do not apply. Executive Order 13211 This final rule is not a ‘‘significant energy action’’ under Executive Order 13211 (Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use). It is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on supply, distribution, or energy use. Further, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has not designated this final rule as a significant energy action. The effective date for the amendment revising 49 CFR 192.305, published March 11, 2015, at 80 FR 12779, is delayed indefinitely. Issued in Washington, DC on September 25, 2015, under authority delegated in 49 CFR Part 1.97. Stacy Cummings, Interim Executive Director. [FR Doc. 2015–24763 Filed 9–29–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P E:\FR\FM\30SER1.SGM 30SER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 189 (Wednesday, September 30, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 58633-58635]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-24763]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 192

[Docket No. PHMSA-2010-0026; Amdt. Nos. 191-23; 192-120; 195-100]
RIN 2137-AE59


Pipeline Safety: Miscellaneous Changes to Pipeline Safety 
Regulations: Response to Petitions for Reconsideration

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

ACTION: Final rule; response to petitions for reconsideration.

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

SUMMARY: On March 11, 2015, PHMSA published a final rule amending the 
pipeline safety regulations to make miscellaneous changes that updated 
and clarified certain regulatory requirements. These amendments 
addressed several subject matter areas, including the performance of 
post-construction inspections, Type B onshore gas gathering line leak 
surveys, qualifying plastic pipe joiners, ethanol regulation, pipe 
transportation, offshore pipeline condition report filing, pressure 
reduction calculations for hazardous liquid pipeline anomalies, and 
components fabricated by welding. This final rule responds to petitions 
for reconsideration of the final rule.

DATES: The effective date of the amendment to 49 CFR 192.305, published 
at 80 FR 12779, March 11, 2015, is delayed indefinitely. PHMSA will 
publish a document in the Federal Register announcing a new effective 
date.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kay McIver, Transportation Specialist, 
by telephone at 202-366-0113, or by electronic mail at 
kay.mciver@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    On March 11, 2015, PHMSA published a final rule amending the 
pipeline safety regulations to make miscellaneous changes that update 
and clarify certain regulatory requirements (80 FR 12762). These 
amendments address several subject matter areas, including the 
performance of post-construction inspections, Type B onshore gas 
gathering line leak surveys, qualifying plastic pipe joiners, ethanol 
regulation, pipe transportation, offshore pipeline condition report 
filing, pressure reduction calculations for hazardous liquid pipeline 
anomalies, and components fabricated by welding.

II. Petitions for Reconsideration

    Collectively, PHMSA received four petitions for reconsideration of 
the final rule from the American Public Gas Association (APGA), the 
American Gas Association (AGA), the Interstate Natural Gas Association 
(INGAA), and the National Association of Pipeline Safety 
Representatives (NAPSR). The APGA, the AGA, and NAPSR expressed 
concerns about the provisions of the final rule applicable to 
construction inspection in Sec.  192.305. INGAA and the AGA expressed 
concerns applicable to provisions in the final rule applicable to 
components fabricated by welding.

Components Fabricated by Welding; 49 CFR 192.153 and 192.165(b)(3)

    In the final rule published on March 11, 2015, PHMSA added 
paragraph (e) to Sec.  192.153 requiring that ``a component having a 
design pressure established under paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) of 
this section and subject to the strength testing requirements of Sec.  
192.505(b) must be tested to at least 1.5 times the MAOP.'' PHMSA also 
modified Sec.  192.165(b)(3) to cross-reference this new subsection. In 
the preamble to the final rule, PHMSA noted ``this proposal is not a 
change to the current pressure testing requirements found in Part 192, 
but [is] simply a clarification to ensure a clearer understanding of 
PHMSA's pressure testing requirements for certain ASME BPVC vessels 
located in compressor stations, meter stations and other Class 3 or 
Class 4 locations'' (80 FR 12772, March 11, 2015).
    On April 10, 2015, INGAA and AGA filed separate petitions for 
reconsideration with PHMSA regarding this change (Docket No. PHMSA-
2010-0026). INGAA stated that PHMSA's modifications to these code 
sections were not merely a clarification, but a departure from industry 
and agency understanding and practice, and require additional review. 
Specifically, INGAA claimed that PHMSA changed the acceptable test 
factor for a pressure vessel built under the American Society or 
Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC) from 
the ASME requirements of 1.3 times the Maximum Allowable Working 
Pressure

[[Page 58634]]

(MAWP) to 1.5 times the Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (MAOP).
    INGAA and AGA requested that PHMSA reconsider this change due to a 
lack of technical justification and regulatory support, asking PHMSA 
to, at a minimum, conduct a study to validate the future use of 1.5 
times MAOP for ASME pressure vessels and create an exception for ASME 
pressure vessels that were put into operation between July 14, 2004 
(when the 1.3 factor was adopted by ASME) and October 1, 2015 (the 
final rule's effective date).
    After reviewing INGAA's and AGA's petitions for reconsideration, 
the language in the final rule, and the Pipeline Safety Regulations 
(PSR), PHMSA disagrees with the petitioners' claim that the change, as 
written, was a departure from industry and agency understanding. The 
pressure testing requirements in the PSR for pipelines in Class 3 and 4 
areas, as well as facilities located in Class 1 and 2 areas, are 
subject to the requirements of Sec.  192.505(b) and require a pressure 
test equal to a minimum of 1.5 times the MAOP. The testing requirements 
of Sec.  192.505(b), which were not revised in the final rule, state 
that in a Class 1 or Class 2 location, each compressor station, 
regulator station, and measuring station must be tested to at least 
Class 3 location test requirements. PHMSA believes the amendment to 
Sec.  192.153 and the corresponding cross-reference with Sec.  
192.165(b)(3) simply clarify the regulations, is consistent with 
existing agency understanding and practice, and ensures regulated 
parties do not incorrectly use the newer ASME BPVC design factor of 1.3 
for pressure testing in instances where pipelines must be tested at 1.5 
times MAOP.
    Regarding INGAA's request to create an exception for ASME pressure 
vessels put into operation between July 14, 2004, and October 1, 2015, 
from the requirements found at Sec.  192.153(e), PHMSA is considering 
INGAA's request and will be evaluating the potential costs and 
environmental implications to operators to retest the non-compliant 
pressure vessels.

Responsibility To Conduct Construction Inspections; 49 CFR 192.305

    Prior to the issuance of the final rule on March 11, 2015, Sec.  
192.305 stated that ``each transmission pipeline or main must be 
inspected to ensure that it is constructed in accordance with this 
part,'' and Sec.  195.204 stated ``inspection must be provided to 
ensure the installation of pipe or pipeline systems in accordance with 
the requirements of this subpart.'' In the final rule issued on March 
11, 2015, PHMSA amended Sec.  192.305 to specify that a pipeline 
operator must not use operator personnel to perform a required 
inspection if the operator personnel also performed the construction 
task that required inspection. This amendment was based, in part, on a 
petition (Docket No. PHMSA-2010-0026) from the National Association of 
Pipeline Safety Representatives (NAPSR),\1\ which suggested that 
contractors who install transmission lines or mains should be 
prohibited from inspecting their own work for compliance purposes. On 
Wednesday, July 11, 2012, the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee 
recommended that PHMSA adopt the amendment.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ NAPSR is a non-profit organization of state pipeline safety 
personnel who serve to promote pipeline safety in the United States 
and its territories. Its membership includes the staff manager 
responsible for regulating pipeline safety from each state that is 
certified to do so or conducts inspections under an agreement with 
DOT in lieu of certification.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    On April 10, 2015, the APGA petitioned for a clarification, or in 
the alternative, a reconsideration of the final rule. The APGA stated 
that the amendment to Sec.  192.305 has the potential to impose 
significant costs on publicly-owned gas distribution systems with 
little, if any, corresponding safety benefit. The APGA stated that if a 
utility has only one qualified crew that works together to construct 
distribution mains, there would not be anyone working for the utility 
available and qualified to perform the inspection. According to the 
APGA, 585 municipal gas utilities have 5 or fewer employees. The APGA 
went on to say that prohibiting small utilities from having their own 
employees inspect pipeline construction work performed by employees of 
the municipal utility would significantly increase the costs for those 
utilities by requiring small utilities to contract with third parties 
for such inspections. The APGA stated that its concerns would be 
alleviated by a clarification stating a two-man utility crew may 
inspect each other's work and comply with the amendment to Sec.  
192.305.
    On April 10, 2015, the AGA petitioned PHMSA to extend the 
compliance date for the amendments in Sec.  192.305 and Sec.  195.204 
from October 1, 2015, to January 1, 2016. The AGA asked for this 
additional time to allow pipeline operators to modify their 
construction inspection procedures, align associated documentation, and 
ensure proper training is in place for both company employees and 
contractors.
    On July 28, 2015, NAPSR petitioned PHMSA to reconsider the revision 
of Sec.  192.305, as it undermines the 2002 NAPSR CR-1-02 resolution. 
NAPSR asked for a delay in the effective date of the final rule 
relative to Sec.  192.305 until PHMSA has reviewed the rule and worked 
with NAPSR to address its concerns. According to NAPSR, allowing 
contractor personnel to inspect the work performed by their own company 
does not remove the inherent conflict of interest that is present and 
defeats the safety benefits that NAPSR intended. NAPSR stated that its 
original resolution would have prohibited contractors from self-
inspecting their own work. NAPSR noted that, unfortunately, the final 
rule's amendment specifically allows contract personnel to inspect the 
work of their own crews so long as the inspector did not directly 
perform the task being inspected. Additionally, the amendment appears 
to apply to operator construction personnel as well, which was not 
NAPSR's original intent since, in its experience, operator personnel 
have less of an incentive to accept poor-quality work. Further, the 
final rule mistakenly decreases the scope of the inspection by changing 
the inspection requirements to only those found in Subpart G for the 
construction of mains and transmission lines,, rather than in all of 
Part 192 as it was prior to the amendment.
    As stated in the final rule, PHMSA believes that these construction 
inspections are important safety requirements because transmission 
pipelines and distribution mains are usually buried after construction, 
and subsequent examinations of these pipelines often involve a 
difficult excavation process. Upon further examination of the impacts 
of this amendment, in particular the issues raised by the petitioners, 
PHMSA believes that further examination and analysis of this safety 
issue is warranted prior to this change going into effect. Therefore, 
PHMSA is delaying the effective date of the amendment to 49 CFR 192.305 
indefinitely. During this delay, PHMSA will be evaluating the ways 
operators are currently complying with Sec.  192.305, developing 
guidance (based on input from industry and other regulatory bodies) and 
hosting a series of workshops on the guidance. Upon completion of this 
evaluation, PHMSA will determine the efficacy of the amendment and 
decide if any additional amendments to the current regulations are 
warranted and to propose any necessary amendments to Sec.  192.305. 
Please note, the effective date for all the other amendments contained 
in the final rule remains October 1, 2015.

[[Page 58635]]

III. Regulatory Analyses and Notices

Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, and DOT Regulatory 
Policies and Procedures

    This final rule is a non-significant regulatory action under 
section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 (58 FR 51735) and therefore was 
not reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. This final rule is 
not significant under the Regulatory Policies and Procedures of the 
Department of Transportation (44 FR 11034).
    This final rule will not impose increased compliance costs on the 
regulated industry. The amendments to the March 11, 2015 final rule 
provide regulatory relief to pipeline operators involved in 
construction inspection and do not alter the cost benefit analysis and 
conclusions.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), PHMSA 
must consider whether rulemaking actions would have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This final 
rule will not impose increased compliance costs on the regulated 
industry. The delay in the effective date to Sec.  192.305 does not 
alter our original certification that the March 11, 2015 final rule 
does not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. Therefore, I certify under Section 605 of the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605) that this final rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This final rule imposes no new requirements for recordkeeping and 
reporting.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This final rule does not impose unfunded mandates under the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995. It would not result in costs of 
$100 million, adjusted for inflation, or more in any one year to either 
State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or to the 
private sector, and is the least burdensome alternative that achieves 
the objective of the final rule.

National Environmental Policy Act

    The National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321-4375) 
requires that Federal agencies analyze final actions to determine 
whether those actions will have a significant impact on the human 
environment. The Council on Environmental Quality regulations requires 
Federal agencies to conduct an environmental review considering (1) the 
need for the final action, (2) alternatives to the final action, (3) 
probable environmental impacts of the final action and alternatives, 
and (4) the agencies and persons consulted during the consideration 
process. 40 CFR 1508.9(b).
    The amendment adopted in this final rule will not impose increased 
compliance costs on the regulated industry or have any measureable 
effect on our original assessment. The amendments to the March 11, 
2015, final rule provide regulatory relief to pipeline operators 
involved in construction inspection. Overall, this final rule will 
reduce the compliance burden without compromising pipeline safety. 
Therefore, PHMSA has determined that this final rule will not have a 
significant impact on the human environment.

Privacy Act Statement

    Anyone may search the electronic form of all comments received for 
any of our dockets. You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement 
published in the Federal Register on April 11, 2000 (70 FR 19477).

Executive Order 13132

    PHMSA has analyzed this final rule according to Executive Order 
13132 (``Federalism''). This final rule does not have a substantial 
direct effect on the States, the relationship between the national 
government and the States, or the distribution of power and 
responsibilities among the various levels of government. This final 
rule does not impose substantial direct compliance costs on State and 
local governments. This final rule does not preempt State law for 
intrastate pipelines. Therefore, the consultation and funding 
requirements of Executive Order 13132 do not apply.

Executive Order 13211

    This final rule is not a ``significant energy action'' under 
Executive Order 13211 (Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use). It is not 
likely to have a significant adverse effect on supply, distribution, or 
energy use. Further, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs 
has not designated this final rule as a significant energy action.
    The effective date for the amendment revising 49 CFR 192.305, 
published March 11, 2015, at 80 FR 12779, is delayed indefinitely.

    Issued in Washington, DC on September 25, 2015, under authority 
delegated in 49 CFR Part 1.97.
Stacy Cummings,
Interim Executive Director.
[FR Doc. 2015-24763 Filed 9-29-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE P