The American Gas Association (AGA) recently submitted comments on the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) Safety of Gas Transmission and Gathering Pipelines Proposed Rule, which the association argues will be cumbersome and ineffective.
The AGA reiterated the commitment to natural gas pipeline safety held by the natural gas utilities it represents, and expressed their support for the intended benefits of the new rule. The AGA’s criticism, however, addresses the actual regulations, as the association does not think they will accomplish PHMSA’s goals and will make operations for utilities more difficult. The AGA also said the regulations do not take into account the voluntary safety initiatives that utilities have in place.
The association said the proposed rule represents a shift from regulations that accommodate the uniqueness of each pipeline system, which have different circumstances and characteristics. Instead, the PHMSA rule would impose prescriptive regulations, which would create costly requirements for compliance and reduce opportunities for voluntary safety initiatives.
The AGA’s comments come after multiple workshops and weekly calls with its members, an effort undertaken with the aim of shaping the proposed rule into a meaningful regulation that will improve pipeline safety. The association also proposed alternative approaches.