On Wednesday September 18, 2013, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) issued a “Notice and request for comments” regarding a proposed information collection program that would require each operator of a pipeline facility—except distribution lines and gathering lines—to provide contact information and geospatial data on their pipeline systems. The information provided by the operator would be incorporated into the National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) in order to support various regulatory programs, pipeline inspections, and authorized external customers.
PHMSA issued an initial Notice and request for comments on this program on June 14, 2013, and provided a 60-day time-frame for interested parties to comment. As of September 18, 2013, PHMSA had only received one comment. The sole comment—submitted by the Pipeline Safety Trust (“PST”)—commented that while PHMSA’s National Pipeline Mapping System is a valuable resource to the public, there are ways in which the information in the system could be improved. First, the PST recommended that PHMSA require that the information be updated annually by the pipeline companies in order to ensure that the information remains accurate. PST also suggested that more information and data be gathered from pipeline companies to allow the public to view pipelines with a much higher level of accuracy, including their location within any High Consequence Area. Finally, PST recommended that pipeline operators share system-specific information about their pipeline systems, such as pipe diameter, operating pressure, product transported, and potential impact radius. PST encouraged PHMSA to include such information on the National Pipeline Mapping System in order to make the data available to emergency management and planning professionals in the communities through which pipelines run. The current comment period will remain open until October 18, 2013.
For more information, please contact Ben McFarland of our Wheeling, WV Office.