Pipeline Safety: Expanding the Use of Excess Flow Valves in Gas Distribution Systems to Applications Other Than Single-Family Residences
Excess flow valves (EFV), which are safety devices installed on natural gas distribution pipelines to reduce the risk of accidents, are currently required for new or replaced gas service lines servicing single-family residences (SFR), as that phrase is defined in 49 CFR 192.383(a). This final rule makes changes to part 192 to expand this requirement to include new or replaced branched service lines servicing SFRs, multifamily residences, and small commercial entities consuming gas volumes not exceeding 1,000 Standard Cubic Feet per Hour (SCFH). PHMSA is also amending part 192 to require the use of either manual service line shut-off valves (e.g., curb valves) or EFVs, if appropriate, for new or replaced service lines with meter capacities exceeding 1,000 SCFH. Lastly, this final rule requires operators to notify customers of their right to request installation of an EFV on service lines that are not being newly installed or replaced. PHMSA has left the question of who bears the cost of installing EFVs on service lines not being newly installed or replaced to the operator's rate- setter.
Pipeline Safety: Enhanced Emergency Order Procedures
This interim final rule (IFR) establishes regulations implementing the emergency order authority conferred on the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) by the ``Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016'' (PIPES Act). These regulations are mandated by the PIPES Act and, in accordance with the Act, PHMSA is establishing procedures for the issuance of emergency orders that will be used to address an unsafe condition or practice, or combination of unsafe conditions or practices, that pose an imminent hazard to public health and safety or the environment. By implementing this statutory mandate, PHMSA will enhance its existing enforcement authority to respond immediately to conditions or practices that exist in a subset of, or across, the pipeline industry. This IFR solely affects agency enforcement procedures to implement the emergency order provisions of the law and; therefore, this rulemaking results in no additional burden or compliance costs to industry. PHMSA is issuing this IFR because the PIPES Act directs PHMSA to first issue temporary regulations. However, the agency invites comments and will, if appropriate, make changes to the IFR prior to the issuance of a final rule, which the agency must issue, by statute, no later than 270 days following enactment of the PIPES Act.