On September 8, APGA’s John Erickson met with a working group composed of state and federal pipeline safety regulators and industry representatives to explore options for clarifying the construction inspection rule the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued on March 11. That rule modified 49 CFR 192.305 to prohibit individuals who performed any task during the construction of a new main or transmission line from performing post-construction inspection of their own work. The final rule included contradictory statements that it was not PHMSA’s intent to force operators to fire outside contractors to perform these inspections, yet provided no alternative to outside inspection in cases where every operator employee qualified to do the inspections was involved in the construction project. On April 10, APGA filed a petition for clarification and reconsideration of the rule.
At the meeting, PHMSA told APGA that it was sending to the Federal Register an announcement delaying the October 1 effective date of the construction inspection rule until January 1. The working group recommended that PHMSA delay the rule even further until 90 days after the working group advises PHMSA on how to fix the rule and PHMSA holds a public meeting to explain what inspections are covered by the rule and how operators are expected to comply. The working group will meet again in October to consider fixes to the rule.
For questions on this article, please contact John Erickson of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-0834 or by email at email@example.com.