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

Published date10 June 2021
Citation86 FR 31002
Record Number2021-12155
SectionNotices
CourtPipeline And Hazardous Materials Safety Administration,Transportation Department
31002
Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 110 / Thursday, June 10, 2021 / Notices
1
‘‘Understanding Global Warming Potentials,’’
U.S. EPA, available at https://www.epa.gov/
ghgemissions/understanding-global-warming-
potentials.
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
National Small Business Development
Center Advisory Board
AGENCY
: Small Business Administration.
ACTION
: Notice of open Federal Advisory
Committee meeting.
SUMMARY
: 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.
DATES
: Wednesday, July 28, 2021 at 2:00
p.m. EDT.
ADDRESSES
: Meeting will be held via
Microsoft Teams.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
:
Rachel Karton, Office of Small Business
Development Centers, U.S. Small
Business Administration, 409 Third
Street SW, Washington, DC 20416;
Rachel.newman-karton@sba.gov; 202–
619–1816.
If anyone wishes to be a listening
participant or would like to request
accommodations, please contact Rachel
Karton at the information above.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION
: Pursuant
to section 10(a) of the Federal Advisory
Committee Act (5 U.S.C. Appendix 2),
the SBA announces the meetings of the
National SBDC Advisory Board. This
Board provides advice and counsel to
the SBA Administrator and Associate
Administrator for Small Business
Development Centers.
Purpose
The purpose of the meeting is to
discuss the following issues pertaining
to the SBDC Program:
Cybersecurity
Outreach to underserved communities
Strategies for getting Small Business
back to normal
Andrienne Johnson,
Committee Management Officer.
[FR Doc. 2021–12222 Filed 6–9–21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE P
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 Sayler.Palabrica@
dot.gov.
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.
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
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31003
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/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
DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY
Office of the Comptroller of the
Currency
[Docket ID OCC–2021–0010]
Mutual Savings Association Advisory
Committee
AGENCY
: Department of the Treasury,
Office of the Comptroller of the
Currency (OCC).
ACTION
: Notice of federal advisory
committee meeting.
SUMMARY
: 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
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