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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
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3

Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework

This chapter provides a high-level overview of the federal and state regulatory framework that governs the safety of hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipelines, discusses the key required elements of an integrity management (IM) program applicable to pipelines in high consequence areas (HCAs), and describes how federal and state inspectors verify and enforce compliance with IM program requirements. While IM requirements specific to the use of shutoff valves on existing pipelines are discussed in Chapter 5, a synopsis of the provisions in the April 2022 rule requiring rupture mitigation valves (RMVs) on newly constructed and entirely replaced segments of pipelines is provided at the end of this chapter. This new rule applies to all pipelines that are newly constructed, regardless of whether they are located in an HCA. A key point is that the new rule differs fundamentally from the management-based IM approach because it establishes a performance metric (i.e., a 30-minute rupture isolation capability) and mandates the use of a specific mitigation measure (an RMV) if that performance cannot be achieved. The rule does not give the operator the discretion to decide whether an RMV should be installed on the basis of its pipeline- and site-specific IM risk analyses.

FEDERAL AND STATE REGULATION

In 1968, Congress passed the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act, which created the Office of Pipeline Safety within the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) to implement and oversee natural gas pipeline safety regulations. A decade later, Congress passed the Hazardous Liquid Pipeline

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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
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Safety Act of 1979, giving U.S. DOT the authority to prescribe minimum federal safety standards for these pipelines. When the federal safety regulations to implement the acts were issued during the 1970s and 1980s, they were derived primarily from long-standing industry consensus standards that had been in effect at the time. Industry trade associations and professional societies, such as the American Petroleum Institute, American Gas Association, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and National Association of Corrosion Engineers, had established standards for pipeline design, construction, fabrication, maintenance, and operations. Many of these consensus standards were incorporated directly or referenced in the new federal regulations. Indeed, the first federal regulations governing gas transmission pipelines were based in large part on an existing consensus standard developed by ASME: B31.8, “Gas Transmission and Distribution Piping Systems.”

As discussed in Chapter 2, an example of a current regulation that originated in a consensus standard is the class location concept, derived from Subsection 846.1 of B31.8, “Required Spacing of valves.” The standard had established spacing standards for the installation of sectionalizing valves along the length of a gas main. The spacing standards, as originally established, were as follows:

  • Class 1 location—each point on the pipeline must be within 20 miles of a valve.
  • Class 2 location—each point on the pipeline must be within 15 miles of a valve.
  • Class 3 location—each point on the pipeline must be within 8 miles of a valve.
  • Class 4 location—each point on the pipeline must be within 4 miles of a valve.

Consequently, many gas transmission pipelines in operation today were designed with these original spacing standards established by ASME. Likewise, subsection 434.15.2 of ASME’s B31.4 standard, “Liquid Petroleum Transportation Piping Systems,” established standards for installing valves on both sides of major river crossings and at other locations appropriate for the terrain. This consensus standard was in effect when many of today’s hazardous liquid pipelines were constructed.

Today, the federal regulations that apply to gas transmission pipelines are in Title 49 Part 192 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR 192), while the regulations that apply to hazardous liquid pipelines are in Title 49 Part 195 (49 CFR 195). Each of the two major sets of regulations cover areas such as pipeline design, construction, corrosion control, pressure testing,

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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
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operations, and maintenance. Often these regulations, like the consensus standards on which they are based, prescribe the use of specific designs, materials, equipment, or procedures. For example, they may specify minimum pipe wall thickness or the minimum frequency of operator inspections. They may also establish testing and performance criteria for aspects of pipeline design and materials, usually by referencing criteria specified in consensus standards.

Since 2004, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has administered and updated these federal regulations. The agency sets the minimum federal safety standards for all pipelines, interstate and intrastate, but depends on states for oversight and enforcement of regulatory compliance for much of the pipeline system and for intrastate pipelines in particular. In its role as federal regulator, PHMSA administers an inspection and enforcement program, provides technical assistance to state pipeline safety programs, provides training to federal and state inspectors, sponsors safety-related research, investigates incidents, and collects and analyzes reports on pipeline releases. States are encouraged to regulate their intrastate pipelines, but their programs must be certified by PHMSA. To be certified, states must adopt, at a minimum, all current minimum pipeline safety standards by law and develop processes and procedures for carrying out their programs in compliance with PHMSA guidelines. Almost all states have chosen to regulate their intrastate gas pipelines, enforcing them through regular inspections. However, only about one-third of states have similar programs for their intrastate hazardous liquid pipelines; hence, responsibility for enforcing compliance with the federal regulations that apply to interstate and intrastate hazardous liquid pipelines in the remaining states lies with PHMSA.

States may elect to promulgate pipeline safety rules that are more stringent but are not inconsistent with applicable federal statutes and regulations. Examples of state-specific requirements are Maine’s demand that operators use a geographic information system to record all valves by location, New Hampshire’s regulations that define acceptable emergency response times (30–45 minutes), and Washington State’s requirement for emergency responses within 15 minutes for certain leak detection thresholds.1 An especially notable state requirement is in California’s code (Section 51013.1(b)(1)) that requires pipelines in “environmentally and ecologically sensitive areas in the coastal zone” to be retrofitted using the “best available

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1 National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives. 2022. Compendium of State Pipeline Safety Requirements and Initiatives Providing Increased Public Safety Levels Compared to Code of Federal Regulations. http://www.napsr.org/compendium.html.

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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
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technology,”2 including leak detection systems, RMVs, or equivalent technologies. A risk analysis conducted by the operator is used to determine what technologies should be implemented to reduce the volume of liquid released. The California regulation considers only the effectiveness of the technology, not its cost.

PHMSA leverages the capabilities of state pipeline safety offices for enforcement of pipeline safety regulations. To supplement its own force of about 200 inspectors, PHMSA has authorized more than 400 state personnel to inspect both interstate and intrastate pipeline systems for compliance with federal and state regulations.3 Indeed, these state inspectors conduct oversight for a large majority of the pipeline infrastructure under PHMSA’s authority.4 PHMSA reimburses states for up to 80% of their total pipeline safety program expenditures.

Both PHMSA and its state partners are required to establish intervals for conducting inspections to verify regulatory compliance. Because of the scope of the regulations, federal and state inspectors subject operators to multiple types of inspections for procedures, programs, processes, and record keeping. A comprehensive pipeline safety inspection will consist of pre-inspection activities to understand how a pipeline operator devises and implements required programs and procedures. Regulators also conduct field inspections of pipeline facilities to verify designs, tests, operations, and maintenance practices. The federal and state inspectors’ roles in verifying compliance with IM requirements are discussed below.

INTEGRITY MANAGEMENT PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

In requiring hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipeline operators to develop and implement IM programs in HCAs, PHMSA has emphasized that the programs are intended to supplement, or overlay, the actions taken by operators to comply with all other prescribed minimum requirements applicable to pipelines generally. The rationale for instituting the IM regulations is that because individual pipeline systems are diverse in their design, condition, configuration, operation, and environmental and topographical settings, an exclusive reliance on generally applicable, prescriptive regulations could not account for the context- and site-specific sources of risk to safe operations in the industry. Another stated purpose of the IM

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2 Title 19 Part 2100 of the California Code of Regulations defines best available technology “as the technology that provides the greatest degree of protection by limiting the quantity of release in the event of a spill, taking into consideration whether the processes are currently in use and could be purchased anywhere in the world.”

3 See https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/pipeline/effort-allocation/federal-effort.

4 PHMSA. State Programs Overview. https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/working-phmsa/state-programs/state-programs-overview.

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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
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requirements is to compel operators to take direct responsibility for identifying and managing their risks, under the assumption that operators are likely to be more cognizant than the regulator of the specific threats and risk factors associated with their pipelines.5 Accordingly, the IM process differs from traditional prescriptive regulation by requiring operators to put in place management processes that obligate them to identify threats and their risks and to take additional risk-reducing actions beyond those required for pipelines generally as appropriate to each pipeline’s circumstances.

The hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipeline IM rules differ in certain respects. As a general matter, however, to be compliant with the rules an operator must do the following:

  • Conduct a baseline assessment of all pipelines that could affect an HCA and repeat the assessment on a regular basis. The integrity of the pipelines must be assessed by internal inspections, pressure tests, or equivalent alternative technologies.
  • Integrate all data about the pipeline from diverse sources to analyze the entire range of threats and assess risks to a pipeline’s integrity.
  • Take prompt action to evaluate any identified anomalies and remediate conditions that pose a threat to the integrity of the pipeline.
  • Take measures to prevent and mitigate the consequences of a failure based on threat identification and risk assessment.
  • Measure and assess the effectiveness of the program and improve it, informed by these assessments.

For IM planning generally, the PHMSA rules refer operators to ASME B31.4 (for hazardous liquid pipelines) and B31.8 (for gas transmission pipelines) as industry guidance that specifically addresses pipeline system integrity. Pipeline operators are expected to follow the consensus standards but can deviate from certain prescriptions in them as long as they have a mature program that satisfies the IM rule’s intent. A key element of an IM program is the requirement that pipeline operators conduct systematic analyses of the risks to the integrity of their pipelines and assessments of the measures that should be taken to reduce risk. The types of risk models used by operators to conduct the risk assessments are discussed in more detail in Chapter 5; they range from simple qualitative methods that express risk in relative terms (i.e., high, medium, low) but not numerically to more sophisticated quantitative system-level models that use algorithms that model physical and local relationships of risk factors and estimate quantitative outputs for likelihood and consequences in terms such as frequency, probability, and expected losses.

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5 65 Fed. Register, 75378, December 1, 2000.

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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
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As noted in Chapter 1, the quality of operator IM assessments, including risk analyses, has been the subject of criticism over the past two decades. Significant program deficiencies have been found in multiple National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigations of major pipeline failures, including the 2010 gas transmission pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California.6 NTSB has raised concerns that the development and execution of IM programs requires operators to have or obtain expertise in multiple technical disciplines, including engineering, materials science, geographic information systems, data management, statistics, and risk management.7 Questioning whether operators have acquired such expertise, NTSB has urged PHMSA to increase its guidance on how to develop and implement IM programs, pointing in particular to the need for operator guidance on the types of risk assessment approaches allowed by regulation. One of the actions taken by PHMSA to respond to NTSB’s recommendation was the creation of a Risk Modeling Work Group. Chapter 5 takes a closer look at issues surrounding risk modeling and the 2020 report8 of this PHMSA work group.

GUIDANCE AND TRAINING ON INTEGRITY MANAGEMENT ENFORCEMENT AND COMPLIANCE

Operators do not require advance approval from regulators before instituting an IM program, but federal and state inspectors are responsible for reviewing the program’s content and execution once in place. During these reviews, inspectors verify that a program meets regulatory minimum requirements and contains program elements that are functionally correct in the design and use set forth in an operator’s overall IM program. They also examine operator decisions, conclusions, and actions taken, including choices about preventive and mitigative measures, in response to the IM-required assessments of pipeline condition, threats, and risks. The aim is to understand whether individual IM program elements, as planned and documented, meet regulatory obligations and to verify that the program elements are being implemented appropriately.

Because risk assessments are an integral part of IM planning, inspectors must be capable of understanding an operator’s risk analyses methods and tools, including the types of risk models used (e.g., quantitative or qualitative). To support IM inspections, PHMSA requires inspectors from

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6Chapter 1 cites the relevant NTSB reports.

7 NTSB. 2015. Safety Study: Integrity Management of Gas Transmission Pipelines in High Consequence Areas. SS-15/01. Washington, DC.

8 PHMSA. 2020. Pipeline Risk Modeling: Overview of Methods and Tools for Improved Implementation. https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/sites/phmsa.dot.gov/files/2020-03/Pipeline-Risk-Modeling-Technical-Information-Document-02-01-2020-Final.pdf.

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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
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partner states and its program to attend qualification courses provided by its Training and Qualification Division (TQ).9 Base-level inspectors must pass these courses to be qualified by PHMSA to inspect IM programs, and each IM inspection must have an IM-qualified lead inspector. To qualify its own inspectors and the hundreds of state inspectors, TQ administers a specialized training center, located in Oklahoma City, where it provides hands-on training in laboratories and field sites, while also providing training modules and seminars online and in individual states. TQ also provides guidance and technical assistance materials for distribution to inspectors.

PHMSA also provides inspectors with enforcement guidance through documents that provide regulatory interpretations and describe practices and techniques that should be used in undertaking compliance verification and inspection activities. An aim is to facilitate consistency of practice. The guidance documents include guidance for enforcing the IM rules for hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipelines.10 In the documents, the guidance cites precedent interpretations of regulations, contains links to advisory bulletins and reference materials, gives examples of probable violations, and provides answers to frequently asked questions. The guidance in these documents that pertains to the enforcement of IM requirements for operators to conduct RMV assessments is discussed in more detail in Chapter 5.

PHMSA’s enforcement guidance can be consulted by pipeline operators to obtain a better understanding of the agency’s expectations for regulatory compliance and documentation. Since the advent of IM rules more than 20 years ago, the pipeline industry has also benefited from a burgeoning subindustry of consultants and subject matter experts who assist operators with the design and development of their IM programs and with the implementation of certain program elements such as risk analysis and modeling. Standards organizations are often the source of the core guidance for IM program frameworks; for instance, the American Petroleum Institute has developed Recommended Practice 1160, “Managing System Integrity for Hazardous Liquid Pipelines,”11 and ASME offers a selection of online and in-person courses and publications that cover compliance with standards as referenced in federal pipeline regulations, including standards related to IM.12 Given the array of resources available for facilitating regulatory compliance, even small pipeline operators that lack in-house technical expertise

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9 See https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/training/pipeline/inspector-training-and-qualifications-overview.

10 See https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/pipeline/enforcement/gas-integrity-management-enforcement-guidance.

11 See https://www.techstreet.com/api/standards/api-rp-1160?product_id=1863868.

12 See https://www.asme.org/publications-submissions/books/find-book/pipeline-integrity-management-systems-practical-approach/print-book.

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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
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and tools to identify threats and model risks, as required by IM, can obtain such services from third parties.

VALVE INSTALLATION AND RUPTURE DETECTION RULE

The IM regulations provide operators latitude in choosing specific risk prevention and mitigation measures depending on pipeline- and site-specific factors and, when justified, based on an appropriate risk assessment and evaluation of risk management options. As noted earlier, following its investigation of the San Bruno gas pipeline rupture, NTSB raised concerns about whether operators were consistently performing assessments in accordance with the requirements of the regulations and recommended that PHMSA directly require RMVs on pipelines in HCAs and populated areas.13 In response to NTSB’s recommendation (P-11-11), Congress passed the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011, which mandated the use of automatic and remote-control valves, or equivalent technologies, on newly constructed or entirely replaced segments of pipelines when economically, technically, and operationally feasible.14

The valve installation and rupture detection rule, which was issued in April 2022 and became effective as of October 2022, introduced minimum rupture detection standards and valve installation requirements for newly constructed and entirely replaced segments of pipelines, including pipelines that are not in HCAs.15 The rule revised several sections of regulations within Parts 192 and 195 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Specifically, the rule sets standards for the installation, operation, and spacing of automatic shutoff valves, remote-control shutoff valves, or alternative equivalent technologies on newly constructed or entirely replaced segments of gas transmission, Type A gas gathering,16 and hazardous liquid pipelines with diameters of 6 inches or more.17 In addition, the regulations define these valves as RMVs, deployed to minimize the volume of gas, hazardous

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13 NTSB. 2011. Pacific Gas and Electric Company Natural Gas Transmission Pipeline Rupture and Fire, San Bruno, California, September 9, 2010. Report PB2011-916501. Washington, DC.

14 Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011, section 4, 2012. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-112publ90/pdf/PLAW-112publ90.pdf.

15 68 Fed. Register, 20940–20992, April 8, 2022.

16 While Type A gas gathering lines are included in the list of applicable pipelines due to their higher operating pressures and proximity to high population areas, Type A gathering lines are required to follow most of 49 CFR 192 regulations that apply to gas transmission pipelines. See https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/technical-resources/pipeline/gas-gathering/gas-gathering-regulatory-overview; https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-49/subtitle-B/chapter-I/subchapter-D/part-192/subpart-A/section-192.8.

17 68 Fed. Register, 20940–20992, April 8, 2022.

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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
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liquid, or carbon dioxide released from the pipeline to mitigate the consequences of a rupture.18 Relevant regulatory changes from the April 2022 rule are listed in Table 3-1.

Regarding newly constructed or entirely replaced segments of pipelines, the rule requires operators to install RMVs, or equivalent technologies, at designated valve spacing intervals. Equivalent technologies, including the use of manual valves, are acceptable if they can be closed within 30 minutes under the worst-case conditions following rupture identification. In addition, operators can use a manual valve as an alternative equivalent technology if they can demonstrate to PHMSA that an RMV is technically, operationally, or economically infeasible. Examples of technical, operational, or economic infeasibility include unavailable labor or equipment, lack of access to communications or power, the inability to secure required land access rights and permits, terrain restrictions, prohibitive cost, and lack of access to operator personnel for installation and maintenance.19

PHMSA also clarified its requirements for RMVs in the new rule, including a performance-based standard for their function that applies to both hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipelines.20 The regulation specifies that an “operator must, as soon as practicable but within 30 minutes of rupture identification … fully close any RMVs or alternative equivalent technologies necessary … to mitigate the consequences of a rupture.”21 All newly installed RMVs must be able to meet the 30-minute performance standard, which was selected for its practicality for measurement informed by PHMSA consultations with its gas and hazardous liquid pipeline advisory committees.22

The April 2022 rule created new spacing requirements for the installation of RMVs on newly constructed and entirely replaced segments of hazardous liquid pipelines, while leaving in place the spacing requirements for gas transmission pipelines. Table 3-2 shows the spacing requirements. The regulations for gas transmission pipelines apply to all pipeline segments

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18 49 CFR Part 192.3 Definitions and 49 CFR Part 195.2 Definitions.

19 68 Fed. Register, 20940–20992, April 8, 2022.

20 49 CFR Part 192.636 and 49 CFR Part 195.419.

21 “As such, in this final rule, PHMSA has retained those same requirements while simplifying the language to state that an RMV installed in accordance with Part 192.935 and Part 195.452 must comply with all of the other RMV requirements in the respective parts of the regulations.” The accompanying footnote for this excerpt lists the relevant sections in the Code of Federal Regulations including Part 192.636 for gas transmission and Part 195.419 for hazardous liquid pipelines, which specify the performance-based standard for RMVs and alternative equivalent technologies.

22 68 Fed. Register, 20940–20992, April 8, 2022.

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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
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TABLE 3-1 Added or Modified Regulations in 49 CFR Parts 192 and 195 per Valve Installation and Spacing Rule

49 CFR 192: Transportation of Natural and Other Gas by Pipeline: Minimum Federal Safety Standards
Regulations Purpose
§ 192.179 (e)–(f) Transmission line valves; § 192.634 (a) Transmission lines: Onshore valve shut-off for rupture mitigation Operators must install RMVs or equivalent technologies onto newly constructed or entirely replaced segments of gas transmission pipelines greater than or equal to 6 inches in accordance with the appropriate valve spacing requirements
§ 192.179 (g) Transmission line valves; § 192.634 (b)–(c) Transmission lines: Onshore valve shut-off for rupture mitigation; § 192.636 Transmission lines: Response to a rupture, capabilities of rupture-mitigation valves (RMVs) or alternative equivalent technologies; § 192.745 (d) Valve maintenance: Transmission lines Outlines standards for the use of equivalent technologies to RMVs, including the use of manual valves and the requirement to close installed RMVs within 30 minutes following rupture detection
§ 192.179 (h) Transmission line valves; § 192.634 (b) Transmission lines: Onshore valve shut-off for rupture mitigation Specifies valve spacing requirements, with exceptions, for all class locations on newly constructed or entirely replaced segments of gas transmission pipelines
§ 192.935 (c) What additional preventive and mitigative measures must an operator take? Risk analysis for gas releases and protection against ruptures Mandates that operators install RMVs or equivalent technologies if a risk analysis determines that the installation would be an efficient means to add protection to an HCA
49 CFR 195: Transportation of Hazardous Liquids by Pipeline
Regulations Purpose
§ 195.258 (c)–(d) Valves: General; § 195.418 (a) Valves: Onshore valve shut-off for rupture mitigation Operators must install RMVs or equivalent technologies onto newly constructed or entirely replaced segments of hazardous liquid pipelines greater than or equal to 6 inches in accordance with the appropriate valve spacing requirements
§ 195.258 (e) Valves: General; § 195.419 Valve capabilities; § 195.420 (e) Valve maintenance Outlines standards for the use of equivalent technologies to RMVs, including the use of manual valves and the requirement to close valves within 30 minutes following rupture detection
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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
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Regulations Purpose
§ 195.260 (c), (e), (g) Valves: Location; § 195.418 (b) Valves: Onshore valve shut-off for rupture mitigation Specifies valve spacing requirements on newly constructed or entirely replaced segments of hazardous liquid and highly volatile liquid pipelines in HCAs and non-HCAs
§ 195.452 (i)(4) Pipeline integrity management in high consequence areas Mandates that operators install emergency flow restricting devices if a risk analysis determines that the installation is needed on a pipeline segment located in or that could affect an HCA

TABLE 3-2 RMV Spacing Requirements for Newly Constructed and Entirely Replaced Segments of Hazardous Liquid and Gas Transmission Pipelines with Diameters Greater Than or Equal to 6 Inches

Type of Pipeline RMV Spacing per HCA and Class (miles)
Non-HCA or Class 1 or 2 Location HCA Class 3 Class 4
Gas Transmission 20 15 8
Hazardous Liquid 20 15
Highly Volatile Liquid 7.5 7.5

SOURCES: 49 CFR Part 192.179 Transmission line valves (e)–(h); 49 CFR Part 192.634 Transmission lines: Onshore valve shut-off for rupture mitigation; 49 CFR Part 195.260 Valves: Location; 49 CFR Part 195.418 Valves: Onshore valve shut-off for rupture mitigation.

except those located in Class 1 or 2 locations with a potential impact radius of 150 feet or less.23,24

SUMMARY POINTS

Pipeline Safety Regulation Is a Federal and State Responsibility

Pipeline safety regulation is a federal and state responsibility. Most inspections to verify compliance with the federal regulations are performed by state inspectors under PHMSA-delegated authorities.

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23 49 CFR Part 192.179 Transmission line valves.

24 49 CFR Part 192.634 (a) Transmission lines: Onshore valve shut-off for rupture mitigation.

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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
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Pipeline Operators Face Challenges Implementing Integrity Management Risk Management Processes and Inspectors Face Challenges Verifying Compliance

A major element of PHMSA’s safety regulations for gas transmission and hazardous liquid pipelines in populated and environmentally sensitive areas is the requirement for operators to develop and implement IM programs. The IM regulations provide operators the discretion to implement risk reduction strategies suited to their specific pipelines and site-specific circumstances based on risk assessments and by employing other risk management processes. The regulations, by and large, do not prescribe the use of specific risk reduction measures, beyond those already required by regulation, but obligate operators to institute programs for risk management involving risk identification, assessment, and prevention and mitigation.

In the 20 years since the IM requirements were introduced for pipelines in HCAs, NTSB and others have raised concerns about whether pipeline operators have the capacity to employ rigorous risk assessment methods and tools and whether they are consistently using them for IM planning and decision making, including to inform choices about when to use RMVs. PHMSA, standards organizations, and industry have introduced guidance, training, and other support for industry and pipeline safety inspectors. Federal and state inspectors nevertheless face challenges in verifying compliance with IM obligations because of the need to assess whether operators are following all required processes, using appropriate methods and tools to assess risk and decide on appropriate risk reduction actions, and implementing such actions in the field.

Mandates for Rupture Mitigation Valve Installations Diverge from the Integrity Management Approach

The current policy approach to RMV installation on existing pipelines is to incorporate the decision into the IM program, which gives pipeline operators leeway to make choices about their use of risk reduction measures that exceed the federal minimums. The new rule requiring the installation of RMVs on newly constructed and entirely replaced segments of pipelines mandates a specific protective measure unless it is infeasible; in this respect, it is similar to the many other requirements in federal pipeline safety regulations that apply generally.

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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
×
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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
×
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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
×
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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
×
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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
×
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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
×
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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
×
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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
×
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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
×
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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
×
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Suggested Citation:"3 Pipeline Safety Regulatory Framework." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2024. Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27521.
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Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves Get This Book
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 Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves
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Since 2022, automatic or remote-control shutoff valves have been required on new hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipelines located in or near populated and environmentally sensitive areas. They are intended to enable faster shutdowns of ruptured pipe segments. However, the requirement for “rupture mitigation valves” does not apply to pipelines installed prior to 2022. This report examines the regulatory requirements that apply and recommends options for making sounder decisions about when to install these valves.

TRB Special Report 349: Ensuring Timely Pipeline Shutdowns in Emergencies: When to Install Rupture Mitigation Valves from the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is the product of an expert committee convened to assess regulatory standards and criteria for deciding when the valves should be installed on pipelines. This review, which was mandated by Congress, issues a series of recommendations designed with pipeline safety in mind.

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