Pipeline Safety: Exercise of Enforcement Discretion Regarding Farm Taps, 11253-11254 [2019-05677]

Download as PDF jbell on DSK30RV082PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 58 / Tuesday, March 26, 2019 / Rules and Regulations (I) FM stations must certify that they were licensed and transmitting at the facility implicated by the Incentive Auction on April 13, 2017. (iii) If an eligible entity seeks reimbursement for new equipment, it must provide a justification as to why it is reasonable under the circumstances to purchase new equipment rather than modify its corresponding current equipment. (iv) Eligible entities that submit their own cost estimates, as opposed to the predetermined cost estimates provided in the estimated cost form, must submit supporting evidence and certify that the estimate is made in good faith. (2) Final Allocation Deadline. (i) Upon completing construction or other reimbursable changes, or by a specific deadline prior to the end of the Reimbursement Period to be established by the Media Bureau, whichever is earlier, all eligible entities that received an initial allocation from the Reimbursement Fund must provide the Commission with information and documentation, including invoices and receipts, regarding their actual expenses incurred as of a date to be determined by the Media Bureau (the ‘‘Final Allocation Deadline’’). (ii) If an eligible entity has not yet completed construction or other reimbursable changes by the Final Allocation Deadline, it must provide the Commission with information and documentation regarding any remaining eligible expenses that it expects to reasonably incur. (3) Final accounting. After completing all construction or reimbursable changes, eligible entities that have received money from the Reimbursement Fund will be required to submit final expense documentation containing a list of estimated expenses and actual expenses as of a date to be determined by the Media Bureau. Entities that have finished construction and have submitted all actual expense documentation by the Final Allocation Deadline will not be required to file at the final accounting stage. (4) Documentation requirements. (i) Each eligible entity that receives payment from the Reimbursement Fund is required to retain all relevant documents pertaining to construction or other reimbursable changes for a period ending not less than 10 years after the date on which it receives final payment from the Reimbursement Fund. (ii) Each eligible entity that receives payment from the Reimbursement Fund must make available all relevant VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:55 Mar 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 documentation upon request from the Commission or its contractor. 11253 I. Background On January 23, 2017, PHMSA published in the Federal Register a final rule titled, ‘‘Operator Qualification, Cost Recovery, Accident and Incident Notification, and Other Pipeline Safety Changes.’’ 1 This final rule, effective March 24, 2017, modified 49 CFR 192.1003 by adding an exemption from the distribution integrity management program (DIMP) regulations for an individual service line directly connected to a transmission, gathering, or production pipeline. Additionally, PHMSA added maintenance and inspection requirements in a new section (§ 192.740) to ensure the safety of pressure regulating, limiting, and overpressure protection for individual service lines directly connected to production, gathering, or transmission pipelines. Individual service lines directly connected to transmission, gathering, or production pipelines are also called ‘‘farm taps.’’ Farm taps are typically located in rural areas, and provide gas to a customer. Prior to the final rule, PHMSA worked with stakeholders to best identify how to address risk with farm taps in an appropriate and cost efficient manner. The result of this work is contained in the final rule with the exemption of farm taps from the DIMP regulations in § 192.1003(b), and the addition of § 192.740, which requires certain maintenance and inspection tasks be performed on a periodic basis. On September 18, 2017, the American Gas Association (AGA) sent to PHMSA a Regulatory Impact Position Paper titled, ‘‘Pipeline Safety: Operator Qualification, Cost Recovery, Accident and Incident Notification, and Other Pipeline Safety Changes Final Rule.’’ In its paper, AGA encourages PHMSA to consider revising §§ 192.740 and 192.1003 to give operators the choice of managing the risk to farm taps under either of these regulatory sections. On November 9, 2017, AGA, the American Petroleum Institute, and the Interstate Natural Gas Association of American submitted joint comments to DOT’s Regulatory Reform Docket, which sought comment on whether existing regulations may be repealed, replaced, or modified without compromising safety (e.g., for burdening domestic energy production, for imposing costs that exceed benefits, or for eliminating jobs or inhibiting job creation).2 The joint comments endorsed the recommendations of the AGA paper, and included that paper as an appendix. AGA believes that PHMSA significantly underestimated the costs associated with the new farm tap inspection requirements. AGA also questions the pipeline safety enhancements attributed to the new regulatory requirements, noting that operators have continuously monitored farm taps for heightened levels of risk under their DIMP plans since 2011, when the DIMP rule became effective. AGA also notes that operators currently are obligated to periodically perform leak surveys on farm taps under 1 82 FR 7972, also available in Docket No. PHMSA 2013–0163 at www.regulations.gov. 2 See https://www.regulations.gov/ document?D=DOT-OST-2017-0069-1504. [FR Doc. 2019–05598 Filed 3–25–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 192 [Docket ID: PHMSA–2018–0086] Pipeline Safety: Exercise of Enforcement Discretion Regarding Farm Taps Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), DOT. ACTION: Announcement of enforcement discretion. AGENCY: SUMMARY: PHMSA is announcing its exercise of enforcement discretion with respect to portions of its regulations that pertain to farm taps. Pursuant to the exercise of enforcement discretion announced in this document, PHMSA will not take enforcement action against operators who forego the new maintenance and inspection requirements established in March 2017 and instead mitigate any future risk associated with farm taps through compliance with the existing Distribution Integrity Management Program (DIMP) regulations. This will provide regulatory flexibility to pipeline operators while at the same time maintaining an equivalent level of safety. DATES: This action is effective March 26, 2019. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For additional information or questions, contact Chris McLaren at chris.mclaren@dot.gov or 281–216– 4455. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\26MRR1.SGM 26MRR1 11254 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 58 / Tuesday, March 26, 2019 / Rules and Regulations § 192.723(b)(2), and these activities provide operators an opportunity to verify their functionality and identify any existing abnormal operating conditions. As part of DOT’s regulatory review process, PHMSA is considering AGA’s request to revise §§ 192.740 and 192.1003 to give operators the choice of managing the risk to farm taps under either of these regulatory sections. AGA contends that this action would provide industry with cost savings, while simultaneously improving pipeline safety by allowing operators to mitigate any future risk associated with farm taps through their DIMP plans. PHMSA believes that the two regulatory sections provide equivalent levels of safety. jbell on DSK30RV082PROD with RULES II. Announcement of Exercise of Enforcement Discretion 15:55 Mar 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 [FR Doc. 2019–05677 Filed 3–25–19; 8:45 am] rockfish section, and renumbers subsequent species sections sequentially. No regulations were promulgated as part of the July 2018 notification, therefore no regulatory changes are needed to effect this correction. BILLING CODE 4919–60–P Classification DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 RIN 0648–XF559 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Essential Fish Habitat Amendments; Correction National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Fishery management plan amendments; notification of correction. AGENCY: PHMSA is exercising enforcement discretion while it considers AGA’s request to revise §§ 192.740 and 192.1003 to give operators the choice of managing the risk to farm taps under either of these regulatory sections. PHMSA will not take any enforcement action relating to violations of § 192.740 with respect to operators that choose to include farm taps in their DIMP plans, and will instead require that such operators comply with the existing DIMP regulations of 49 CFR part 192, subpart P. This exercise of enforcement discretion provides operators with the flexibility to choose to either address the safety of farm taps under the current regulatory framework of §§ 192.740 and 192.1003(b), or under the regulatory framework that was in place prior to March 24, 2017, by including farm taps in their DIMP. Operators who choose the second option should continuously monitor their farm taps for heightened levels of risk under their DIMP. All operators of farm taps, moreover, should comply with other regulatorily required programs (e.g., §§ 192.603(c)(4) Abnormal Operations; 192.613(a) Continuing Surveillance; and, 192.617 Investigation of Failures). PHMSA is issuing this document while it continues to evaluate and analyze the technical aspects of this matter. This exercise of enforcement discretion will remain in effect until further notice. Nothing in this document prohibits PHMSA from rescinding this document and pursuing an enforcement action if it determines that a significant safety issue warrants doing so. Furthermore, this document does not relieve operators from compliance with any other applicable provisions of the pipeline safety regulations. VerDate Sep<11>2014 Issued in Washington DC on March 20, 2019, under authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.97. Linda Daugherty, Deputy Associate Administrator for Field Operations. SUMMARY: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is announcing the correction of Amendment 115 to the fishery management plan (FMP) for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI Groundfish FMP). NMFS is correcting the numbering of the sections in Amendment 115 describing speciesspecific essential fish habitat (EFH). DATES: The correction to Amendment 115 is effective March 26, 2019. ADDRESSES: The corrected FMP may be obtained at https://www.npfmc.org/wpcontent/PDFdocuments/fmp/BSAI/ BSAIfmp.pdf. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA (AA) finds there is good cause to waive prior notice and opportunity for public comment on this correction, as notice and comment would be unnecessary and contrary to public interest. This notification announces the correction of the unintentional omission of a number for the dusky rockfish EFH section, as described above, and does not change operating practices in the fisheries. Therefore, in order to avoid any negative consequences that could result from this error, the AA finds good cause to waive the requirement to provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment. The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This correction notification makes only minor change to the numbers of the species-specific EFH sections and does not change the operating practices in the fisheries. For these reasons, the AA finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the effective date of this action. Description of Correction SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In the BSAI Groundfish FMP Amendment 115, described in the July 2018 notification (see ADDRESSES for availability), the section for dusky rockfish on page 10 is numbered as follows: Need for Correction 4.2.2.2.20 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Megan Mackey, 907–586–7228. On July 5, 2018, NMFS announced the final approval of EFH amendments to five of its six FMPs, including the BSAI Groundfish FMP (83 FR 31340), in effect as of May 31, 2018 (July 2018 notification) and published availability information for the amendments. These amendments updated the description and identification of EFH based on the best scientific information available to comply with the regulatory requirement to review and update EFH every five years. Species-specific EFH sections are numbered in Section 4.2.2 of the BSAI Groundfish FMP; however, a number for the dusky rockfish section was inadvertently left out. This correction provides a number for the dusky PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 Dusky Rockfish Species-specific EFH sections following dusky rockfish are corrected to be numbered sequentially up to the last species section numbered 4.2.2.2.30 for yellow Irish lord, which was numbered 4.2.2.2.29 in the text described in the July 2018 notification. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: March 19, 2019. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–05599 Filed 3–25–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\26MRR1.SGM 26MRR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 58 (Tuesday, March 26, 2019)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 11253-11254]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-05677]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 192

[Docket ID: PHMSA-2018-0086]


Pipeline Safety: Exercise of Enforcement Discretion Regarding 
Farm Taps

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

ACTION: Announcement of enforcement discretion.

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

SUMMARY: PHMSA is announcing its exercise of enforcement discretion 
with respect to portions of its regulations that pertain to farm taps. 
Pursuant to the exercise of enforcement discretion announced in this 
document, PHMSA will not take enforcement action against operators who 
forego the new maintenance and inspection requirements established in 
March 2017 and instead mitigate any future risk associated with farm 
taps through compliance with the existing Distribution Integrity 
Management Program (DIMP) regulations. This will provide regulatory 
flexibility to pipeline operators while at the same time maintaining an 
equivalent level of safety.

DATES: This action is effective March 26, 2019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For additional information or 
questions, contact Chris McLaren at chris.mclaren@dot.gov or 281-216-
4455.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    On January 23, 2017, PHMSA published in the Federal Register a 
final rule titled, ``Operator Qualification, Cost Recovery, Accident 
and Incident Notification, and Other Pipeline Safety Changes.'' \1\ 
This final rule, effective March 24, 2017, modified 49 CFR 192.1003 by 
adding an exemption from the distribution integrity management program 
(DIMP) regulations for an individual service line directly connected to 
a transmission, gathering, or production pipeline. Additionally, PHMSA 
added maintenance and inspection requirements in a new section (Sec.  
192.740) to ensure the safety of pressure regulating, limiting, and 
overpressure protection for individual service lines directly connected 
to production, gathering, or transmission pipelines.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ 82 FR 7972, also available in Docket No. PHMSA 2013-0163 at 
www.regulations.gov.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Individual service lines directly connected to transmission, 
gathering, or production pipelines are also called ``farm taps.'' Farm 
taps are typically located in rural areas, and provide gas to a 
customer. Prior to the final rule, PHMSA worked with stakeholders to 
best identify how to address risk with farm taps in an appropriate and 
cost efficient manner. The result of this work is contained in the 
final rule with the exemption of farm taps from the DIMP regulations in 
Sec.  192.1003(b), and the addition of Sec.  192.740, which requires 
certain maintenance and inspection tasks be performed on a periodic 
basis.
    On September 18, 2017, the American Gas Association (AGA) sent to 
PHMSA a Regulatory Impact Position Paper titled, ``Pipeline Safety: 
Operator Qualification, Cost Recovery, Accident and Incident 
Notification, and Other Pipeline Safety Changes Final Rule.'' In its 
paper, AGA encourages PHMSA to consider revising Sec. Sec.  192.740 and 
192.1003 to give operators the choice of managing the risk to farm taps 
under either of these regulatory sections. On November 9, 2017, AGA, 
the American Petroleum Institute, and the Interstate Natural Gas 
Association of American submitted joint comments to DOT's Regulatory 
Reform Docket, which sought comment on whether existing regulations may 
be repealed, replaced, or modified without compromising safety (e.g., 
for burdening domestic energy production, for imposing costs that 
exceed benefits, or for eliminating jobs or inhibiting job 
creation).\2\ The joint comments endorsed the recommendations of the 
AGA paper, and included that paper as an appendix.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ See https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOT-OST-2017-0069-1504.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    AGA believes that PHMSA significantly underestimated the costs 
associated with the new farm tap inspection requirements. AGA also 
questions the pipeline safety enhancements attributed to the new 
regulatory requirements, noting that operators have continuously 
monitored farm taps for heightened levels of risk under their DIMP 
plans since 2011, when the DIMP rule became effective. AGA also notes 
that operators currently are obligated to periodically perform leak 
surveys on farm taps under

[[Page 11254]]

Sec.  192.723(b)(2), and these activities provide operators an 
opportunity to verify their functionality and identify any existing 
abnormal operating conditions.
    As part of DOT's regulatory review process, PHMSA is considering 
AGA's request to revise Sec. Sec.  192.740 and 192.1003 to give 
operators the choice of managing the risk to farm taps under either of 
these regulatory sections. AGA contends that this action would provide 
industry with cost savings, while simultaneously improving pipeline 
safety by allowing operators to mitigate any future risk associated 
with farm taps through their DIMP plans. PHMSA believes that the two 
regulatory sections provide equivalent levels of safety.

II. Announcement of Exercise of Enforcement Discretion

    PHMSA is exercising enforcement discretion while it considers AGA's 
request to revise Sec. Sec.  192.740 and 192.1003 to give operators the 
choice of managing the risk to farm taps under either of these 
regulatory sections. PHMSA will not take any enforcement action 
relating to violations of Sec.  192.740 with respect to operators that 
choose to include farm taps in their DIMP plans, and will instead 
require that such operators comply with the existing DIMP regulations 
of 49 CFR part 192, subpart P. This exercise of enforcement discretion 
provides operators with the flexibility to choose to either address the 
safety of farm taps under the current regulatory framework of 
Sec. Sec.  192.740 and 192.1003(b), or under the regulatory framework 
that was in place prior to March 24, 2017, by including farm taps in 
their DIMP. Operators who choose the second option should continuously 
monitor their farm taps for heightened levels of risk under their DIMP. 
All operators of farm taps, moreover, should comply with other 
regulatorily required programs (e.g., Sec. Sec.  192.603(c)(4) Abnormal 
Operations; 192.613(a) Continuing Surveillance; and, 192.617 
Investigation of Failures).
    PHMSA is issuing this document while it continues to evaluate and 
analyze the technical aspects of this matter. This exercise of 
enforcement discretion will remain in effect until further notice. 
Nothing in this document prohibits PHMSA from rescinding this document 
and pursuing an enforcement action if it determines that a significant 
safety issue warrants doing so. Furthermore, this document does not 
relieve operators from compliance with any other applicable provisions 
of the pipeline safety regulations.

    Issued in Washington DC on March 20, 2019, under authority 
delegated in 49 CFR 1.97.
Linda Daugherty,
Deputy Associate Administrator for Field Operations.
[FR Doc. 2019-05677 Filed 3-25-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4919-60-P