Aug 16, 2023 Gas Gathering Industry Comments Docket No. PHMSA 2021 0039(15157621.1)
Posted at 17:06h in Letters and Comments
IPAA joined GPA Midstream, API, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, PIOGA, GO-WV, OOGA, KOGA, TXOGA and the Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma (collectively, Gas Gathering Industry Commenters) in submitting comments in response to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)’s proposed Pipeline Safety: Gas Pipeline Leak Detection and Repair rule on the proposals for onshore gas gathering lines.
“The Gas Gathering Industry Commenters support the Agency’s efforts to prescribe gas pipeline leak detection and repair (LDAR) regulations pursuant to the requirements in Section 113 of the 2020 PIPES Act. Congress directed the Agency in Section 113 to establish minimum performance standards for LDAR programs and to require the use of advanced leak detection technologies and practices for certain types of gas pipeline facilities; namely, gas distribution lines, gas transmission lines, and regulated onshore gas gathering lines in more populated Class 2, 3, and 4 locations. The Gas Gathering Industry Commenters appreciate that PHMSA has an obligation to act expeditiously in satisfying Congress’ instructions, that the policy preferences of the executive branch will be taken into account in meeting that objective, and that reducing methane emissions is a priority for the current administration, the pipeline industry, and other interested stakeholders.
“But Section 113 of the 2020 PIPES Act did not suspend the Agency’s obligation to follow the law in prescribing LDAR regulations for gas pipeline facilities. The Pipeline Safety Act requires PHMSA to conduct a risk assessment in developing proposed safety standards, and that risk assessment must identify the regulatory and non-regulatory options considered, explain why the options identified were either selected or rejected, identify the associated costs and benefits, and describe the technical data or information relied upon in developing the proposed standard and risk assessment…
“PHMSA committed that serious error in developing the LDAR regulations for onshore gas gathering lines in the Proposed Rule…The defects in the Proposed Rule go well beyond the Agency’s failure to comply with the Pipeline Safety Act’s risk assessment requirements. The proposal to require gathering line operators to participate in the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) is unlawful….”
“The Gas Gathering Industry Commenters do not object to all aspects of the Proposed Rule. The proposed reporting requirement for large-volume gas releases is a reasonable concept, although improvements are needed to eliminate unnecessary provisions and duplicative reporting obligations…”
“Despite these limited areas of agreement, the Agency has left itself with no choice but to return to the drawing board in developing the proposed LDAR requirements for onshore gas gathering lines…”