Pipeline Safety: Statutory Mandate To Update Inspection and Maintenance Plans To Address Eliminating Hazardous Leaks and Minimizing Releases of Natural Gas From Pipeline Facilities, 31002-31003 [2021-12155]

Download as PDF 31002 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 110 / Thursday, June 10, 2021 / Notices SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Small Business Development Center Advisory Board Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration AGENCY: Small Business Administration. Notice of open Federal Advisory Committee meeting. ACTION: The SBA is issuing this notice to announce the date, time and agenda for a meeting of the National Small Business Development Center Advisory Board. The meeting will be open to the public; however, advance notice of attendance is required. SUMMARY: Wednesday, July 28, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES DATES: [Docket No. PHMSA–2021–0050] Pipeline Safety: Statutory Mandate To Update Inspection and Maintenance Plans To Address Eliminating Hazardous Leaks and Minimizing Releases of Natural Gas From Pipeline Facilities Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA); DOT. ACTION: Notice; issuance of advisory bulletin. AGENCY: PHMSA is issuing this advisory bulletin to remind each owner ADDRESSES: Meeting will be held via and operator of a pipeline facility that Microsoft Teams. the ‘‘Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rachel Karton, Office of Small Business 2020’’ (PIPES Act of 2020) contains a self-executing mandate requiring Development Centers, U.S. Small operators to update their inspection and Business Administration, 409 Third maintenance plans to address Street SW, Washington, DC 20416; eliminating hazardous leaks and Rachel.newman-karton@sba.gov; 202– minimizing releases of natural gas 619–1816. (including intentional venting during If anyone wishes to be a listening normal operations) from their pipeline participant or would like to request facilities. Operators must also revise accommodations, please contact Rachel their plans to address the replacement Karton at the information above. or remediation of pipeline facilities that are known to leak based on their SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant material, design, or past operating and to section 10(a) of the Federal Advisory maintenance history. The statute Committee Act (5 U.S.C. Appendix 2), requires pipeline operators to complete the SBA announces the meetings of the these updates by December 27, 2021. National SBDC Advisory Board. This FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Board provides advice and counsel to Sayler Palabrica, by phone at 202–366– the SBA Administrator and Associate 0559 or by email at Sayler.Palabrica@ Administrator for Small Business dot.gov. Development Centers. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Natural Purpose gas is composed primarily of methane, therefore leaks and other releases of The purpose of the meeting is to natural gas emit methane gas into the discuss the following issues pertaining atmosphere. According to the U.S. to the SBDC Program: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), methane is a potent greenhouse • Cybersecurity • Outreach to underserved communities gas with a global warming potential (GWP) of 28–36 over 100 years.1 • Strategies for getting Small Business Compared to carbon dioxide, methane back to normal gas has a stronger warming effect, but a shorter lifespan in the atmosphere. Due Andrienne Johnson, to the high GWP and short lifespan of Committee Management Officer. methane gas in the atmosphere, [FR Doc. 2021–12222 Filed 6–9–21; 8:45 am] minimizing releases of natural gas (both BILLING CODE P fugitive and vented emissions) has relatively near-term benefits to mitigating the consequences of climate change. Likewise, remediation or replacement of pipeline facilities that SUMMARY: 1 ‘‘Understanding Global Warming Potentials,’’ U.S. EPA, available at https://www.epa.gov/ ghgemissions/understanding-global-warmingpotentials. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:15 Jun 09, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00093 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 are known to leak based on material, design or past operating and maintenance history can result in enhanced public safety, environmental protection, and economic benefits. The ‘‘Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2020’’ (Pub. L. 116–260, Division R; ‘‘PIPES Act of 2020’’) was signed into law on December 27, 2020. This law contains several provisions that specifically address the elimination of hazardous leaks and minimization of releases of natural gas from pipeline facilities. Section 114(b) of the PIPES Act of 2020 contains self-executing provisions that apply directly to pipeline operators. This section requires each pipeline operator to update its inspection and maintenance plan required under 49 U.S.C. 60108(a) no later than one year after the date of enactment of the PIPES Act of 2020 (i.e., by December 27, 2021) to address the elimination of hazardous leaks and minimization of releases of natural gas (including, and not limited to, intentional venting during normal operations) from the operators’ pipeline facilities (49 U.S.C. 60108(a)(2)(D)). The PIPES Act of 2020 also requires those plans to address the replacement or remediation of pipelines that are known to leak due to their material (including cast iron, unprotected steel, wrought iron, and historic plastics with known issues), design, or past operating and maintenance history (49 U.S.C. 60108(a)(2)(E)). In addition, 49 U.S.C. 60108(a)(2) requires that operators continue updating these plans to meet the requirements of any future regulations related to leak detection and repair that are promulgated under 49 U.S.C. 60102(q). Advisory Bulletin (ADB–2021–01) To: Owners and Operators of Gas and Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Facilities. Subject: Statutory Mandate to Update Inspection and Maintenance Plans to Address Eliminating Hazardous Leaks and Minimizing Releases of Natural Gas from Pipeline Facilities. Advisory: The PIPES Act of 2020 contains self-executing provisions requiring pipeline facility operators to update their inspection and maintenance plans to address the elimination of hazardous leaks and minimization of releases of natural gas (including, and not limited to, intentional venting during normal operations) from their systems before December 27, 2021. PHMSA expects that operators will comply with the inspection and maintenance plan revisions required in the PIPES Act of 2020 by revising their operations and E:\FR\FM\10JNN1.SGM 10JNN1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 110 / Thursday, June 10, 2021 / Notices maintenance (O&M) plans required under 49 CFR 192.605, 193.2017, and 195.402, to address the elimination of hazardous leaks and minimize releases of natural gas from pipeline facilities. The plans must also address the replacement or remediation of pipelines that are known to leak due to their material (including cast iron, unprotected steel, wrought iron, and historic plastics with known issues), design, or past O&M history. The plans must in be in writing, tailored to the operator’s pipeline facilities, supported by technical analysis where necessary, and sufficiently detailed to clearly describe the manner in which each requirement is met. For additional guidance on O&M plans for hazardous liquid and natural gas pipeline facilities, see ‘‘Operations & Maintenance Enforcement Guidance,’’ part 192 subparts L and M, page 17, available at https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/sites/ phmsa.dot.gov/files/docs/regulatorycompliance/pipeline/enforcement/5776/ o-m-enforcement-guidance-part-192-721-2017.pdf; and ‘‘Operations & Maintenance Enforcement Guidance,’’ part 195 subpart F, page 18, available at https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/sites/ phmsa.dot.gov/files/docs/regulatorycompliance/pipeline/enforcement/5781/ o-m-enforcement-guidance-part-195-721-2017.pdf. Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 60108(a)(3), as amended by section 114(a) of the PIPES Act of 2020, PHMSA and state authorities with a certification under 49 U.S.C. 60105 will inspect operators’ revised O&M plans in calendar year 2022, and such inspections must be completed by December 27, 2022. During these inspections, PHMSA, or the relevant state authority, is required to evaluate whether the plans adequately address items listed in section 114 of the PIPES Act of 2020. Operators need to consider the following items as they update their plans to comply with section 114 of the PIPES Act of 2020: • O&M plans must be detailed to address the elimination of hazardous leaks and minimization of releases of natural gas from the operators’ pipeline facilities; meaning pipeline operators must update their plans to minimize, among other things, fugitive emissions and vented emissions from pipeline facilities. PHMSA and state inspections, therefore, will evaluate the steps taken to prevent and mitigate both unintentional, fugitive emissions as well as intentional, vented emissions. Fugitive emissions include any unintentional leaks from equipment such as pipelines, flanges, valves, meter sets, or other equipment. Vented VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:15 Jun 09, 2021 Jkt 253001 emissions include any release of natural gas to the atmosphere due to equipment design or operations and maintenance procedures. Common sources of vented emissions include pneumatic device bleeds, blowdowns, incomplete combustion, or overpressure protection venting (e.g., relief valves). • O&M plans must address the replacement or remediation of pipelines that are known to leak based on the material (including cast iron, unprotected steel, wrought iron, and historic plastics with known issues), design, or past operating and maintenance history of the pipeline. PHMSA and state inspections will include an evaluation of how the material present in the pipeline system, design of the system, as well as the past O&M history of the system, contribute to the leaks that occur on the system. PHMSA and states will evaluate whether the plans adequately address reducing leaks on operators’ pipeline systems due to the aforementioned factors. • Operators must carry out a current, written O&M plan to address public safety and the protection of the environment. In addition to the new statutory requirement that PHMSA and state inspections consider the extent to which the plans will contribute to the elimination of hazardous leaks and minimizing releases of natural gas from pipeline facilities, PHMSA’s inspections will continue to include an evaluation of the extent to which the plans contribute to both public safety and the protection of the environment. Developing and implementing comprehensive written O&M plans is an effective way to eliminate hazardous leaks and minimize the release of natural gas from pipeline systems. PHMSA anticipates these self-executing statutory mandates will result in enhanced public safety and reductions in pipeline emissions thereby reducing impact on the environment. Issued in Washington, DC, on June 4, 2021, under authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.97. Alan K. Mayberry, Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety. [FR Doc. 2021–12155 Filed 6–9–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–60–P PO 00000 Frm 00094 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 31003 DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Office of the Comptroller of the Currency [Docket ID OCC–2021–0010] Mutual Savings Association Advisory Committee Department of the Treasury, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). ACTION: Notice of federal advisory committee meeting. AGENCY: The OCC announces a meeting of the Mutual Savings Association Advisory Committee (MSAAC). DATES: A virtual public meeting of the MSAAC will be held on Tuesday, June 29, 2021, beginning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). ADDRESSES: The OCC will host the June 29, 2021 meeting of the MSAAC virtually. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael R. Brickman, Deputy Comptroller for Thrift Supervision, (202) 649–5420, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Washington, DC 20219. You also may access prior MSAAC meeting materials on the MSAAC page of the OCC’s website at Mutual Savings Association Advisory Committee. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the authority of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App. 2, and the regulations implementing the Act at 41 CFR part 102–3, the OCC is announcing that the MSAAC will convene a virtual meeting on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. The meeting is open to the public and will begin at 9:00 a.m. EDT. The purpose of the meeting is for the MSAAC to advise the OCC on regulatory or other changes the OCC may make to ensure the health and viability of mutual savings associations. The agenda includes a discussion of current topics of interest to the industry. Members of the public may submit written statements to the MSAAC. The OCC must receive written statements no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 24, 2021. Members of the public may submit written statements to MSAAC@occ.treas.gov. Members of the public who plan to attend the virtual meeting should contact the OCC by 5:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 24, 2021, to inform the OCC of their desire to attend the meeting and to obtain information about participating in the meeting. Members of the public may contact the OCC via email at MSAAC@OCC.treas.gov or by SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\10JNN1.SGM 10JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 110 (Thursday, June 10, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 31002-31003]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-12155]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

[Docket No. PHMSA-2021-0050]


Pipeline Safety: Statutory Mandate To Update Inspection and 
Maintenance Plans To Address Eliminating Hazardous Leaks and Minimizing 
Releases of Natural Gas From Pipeline Facilities

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

ACTION: Notice; issuance of advisory bulletin.

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

SUMMARY: PHMSA is issuing this advisory bulletin to remind each owner 
and operator of a pipeline facility that the ``Protecting our 
Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2020'' (PIPES 
Act of 2020) contains a self-executing mandate requiring operators to 
update their inspection and maintenance plans to address eliminating 
hazardous leaks and minimizing releases of natural gas (including 
intentional venting during normal operations) from their pipeline 
facilities. Operators must also revise their plans to address the 
replacement or remediation of pipeline facilities that are known to 
leak based on their material, design, or past operating and maintenance 
history. The statute requires pipeline operators to complete these 
updates by December 27, 2021.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sayler Palabrica, by phone at 202-366-
0559 or by email at [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Natural gas is composed primarily of 
methane, therefore leaks and other releases of natural gas emit methane 
gas into the atmosphere. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection 
Agency (EPA), methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming 
potential (GWP) of 28-36 over 100 years.\1\ Compared to carbon dioxide, 
methane gas has a stronger warming effect, but a shorter lifespan in 
the atmosphere. Due to the high GWP and short lifespan of methane gas 
in the atmosphere, minimizing releases of natural gas (both fugitive 
and vented emissions) has relatively near-term benefits to mitigating 
the consequences of climate change. Likewise, remediation or 
replacement of pipeline facilities that are known to leak based on 
material, design or past operating and maintenance history can result 
in enhanced public safety, environmental protection, and economic 
benefits.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ ``Understanding Global Warming Potentials,'' U.S. EPA, 
available at https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/understanding-global-warming-potentials.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The ``Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing 
Safety Act of 2020'' (Pub. L. 116-260, Division R; ``PIPES Act of 
2020'') was signed into law on December 27, 2020. This law contains 
several provisions that specifically address the elimination of 
hazardous leaks and minimization of releases of natural gas from 
pipeline facilities. Section 114(b) of the PIPES Act of 2020 contains 
self-executing provisions that apply directly to pipeline operators. 
This section requires each pipeline operator to update its inspection 
and maintenance plan required under 49 U.S.C. 60108(a) no later than 
one year after the date of enactment of the PIPES Act of 2020 (i.e., by 
December 27, 2021) to address the elimination of hazardous leaks and 
minimization of releases of natural gas (including, and not limited to, 
intentional venting during normal operations) from the operators' 
pipeline facilities (49 U.S.C. 60108(a)(2)(D)). The PIPES Act of 2020 
also requires those plans to address the replacement or remediation of 
pipelines that are known to leak due to their material (including cast 
iron, unprotected steel, wrought iron, and historic plastics with known 
issues), design, or past operating and maintenance history (49 U.S.C. 
60108(a)(2)(E)). In addition, 49 U.S.C. 60108(a)(2) requires that 
operators continue updating these plans to meet the requirements of any 
future regulations related to leak detection and repair that are 
promulgated under 49 U.S.C. 60102(q).

Advisory Bulletin (ADB-2021-01)

    To: Owners and Operators of Gas and Hazardous Liquid Pipeline 
Facilities.
    Subject: Statutory Mandate to Update Inspection and Maintenance 
Plans to Address Eliminating Hazardous Leaks and Minimizing Releases of 
Natural Gas from Pipeline Facilities.
    Advisory: The PIPES Act of 2020 contains self-executing provisions 
requiring pipeline facility operators to update their inspection and 
maintenance plans to address the elimination of hazardous leaks and 
minimization of releases of natural gas (including, and not limited to, 
intentional venting during normal operations) from their systems before 
December 27, 2021. PHMSA expects that operators will comply with the 
inspection and maintenance plan revisions required in the PIPES Act of 
2020 by revising their operations and

[[Page 31003]]

maintenance (O&M) plans required under 49 CFR 192.605, 193.2017, and 
195.402, to address the elimination of hazardous leaks and minimize 
releases of natural gas from pipeline facilities. The plans must also 
address the replacement or remediation of pipelines that are known to 
leak due to their material (including cast iron, unprotected steel, 
wrought iron, and historic plastics with known issues), design, or past 
O&M history. The plans must in be in writing, tailored to the 
operator's pipeline facilities, supported by technical analysis where 
necessary, and sufficiently detailed to clearly describe the manner in 
which each requirement is met. For additional guidance on O&M plans for 
hazardous liquid and natural gas pipeline facilities, see ``Operations 
& Maintenance Enforcement Guidance,'' part 192 subparts L and M, page 
17, available at https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/sites/phmsa.dot.gov/files/docs/regulatory-compliance/pipeline/enforcement/5776/o-m-enforcement-guidance-part-192-7-21-2017.pdf; and ``Operations & Maintenance 
Enforcement Guidance,'' part 195 subpart F, page 18, available at 
https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/sites/phmsa.dot.gov/files/docs/regulatory-compliance/pipeline/enforcement/5781/o-m-enforcement-guidance-part-195-7-21-2017.pdf.
    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 60108(a)(3), as amended by section 114(a) of 
the PIPES Act of 2020, PHMSA and state authorities with a certification 
under 49 U.S.C. 60105 will inspect operators' revised O&M plans in 
calendar year 2022, and such inspections must be completed by December 
27, 2022. During these inspections, PHMSA, or the relevant state 
authority, is required to evaluate whether the plans adequately address 
items listed in section 114 of the PIPES Act of 2020.
    Operators need to consider the following items as they update their 
plans to comply with section 114 of the PIPES Act of 2020:
     O&M plans must be detailed to address the elimination of 
hazardous leaks and minimization of releases of natural gas from the 
operators' pipeline facilities; meaning pipeline operators must update 
their plans to minimize, among other things, fugitive emissions and 
vented emissions from pipeline facilities. PHMSA and state inspections, 
therefore, will evaluate the steps taken to prevent and mitigate both 
unintentional, fugitive emissions as well as intentional, vented 
emissions. Fugitive emissions include any unintentional leaks from 
equipment such as pipelines, flanges, valves, meter sets, or other 
equipment. Vented emissions include any release of natural gas to the 
atmosphere due to equipment design or operations and maintenance 
procedures. Common sources of vented emissions include pneumatic device 
bleeds, blowdowns, incomplete combustion, or overpressure protection 
venting (e.g., relief valves).
     O&M plans must address the replacement or remediation of 
pipelines that are known to leak based on the material (including cast 
iron, unprotected steel, wrought iron, and historic plastics with known 
issues), design, or past operating and maintenance history of the 
pipeline. PHMSA and state inspections will include an evaluation of how 
the material present in the pipeline system, design of the system, as 
well as the past O&M history of the system, contribute to the leaks 
that occur on the system. PHMSA and states will evaluate whether the 
plans adequately address reducing leaks on operators' pipeline systems 
due to the aforementioned factors.
     Operators must carry out a current, written O&M plan to 
address public safety and the protection of the environment. In 
addition to the new statutory requirement that PHMSA and state 
inspections consider the extent to which the plans will contribute to 
the elimination of hazardous leaks and minimizing releases of natural 
gas from pipeline facilities, PHMSA's inspections will continue to 
include an evaluation of the extent to which the plans contribute to 
both public safety and the protection of the environment.
    Developing and implementing comprehensive written O&M plans is an 
effective way to eliminate hazardous leaks and minimize the release of 
natural gas from pipeline systems. PHMSA anticipates these self-
executing statutory mandates will result in enhanced public safety and 
reductions in pipeline emissions thereby reducing impact on the 
environment.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on June 4, 2021, under authority 
delegated in 49 CFR 1.97.
Alan K. Mayberry,
Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety.
[FR Doc. 2021-12155 Filed 6-9-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-60-P