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Pipeline Law Alert - Rulemaking Update: Comment Period Opens for Proposed Rule Expanding Regulation of Gathering, Transmission Natural Gas Lines

On April 8, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) formally published its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking expanding regulation of natural gas transmission and gathering lines, including previously unregulated lines. Publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register has triggered a 60-day comment period. Persons interested in submitting written comments on the proposed rule must do so by June 7, 2016.

The proposed rule would substantially increase the scope and strength of PHMSA’s regulation of natural gas pipelines, including: (1) regulating pipelines constructed before 1970, (2) enhancing integrity management requirements, and (3) classifying lines as gathering lines earlier in the production process, thereby reducing the instances when lines will be considered incidental gathering, instead of transmission. For more details on the proposed rule and its implications for pipeline owners and operators, please see our prior pipeline alert.

PHMSA has specifically requested comments from industry participants on the rule’s potential cost impact and whether its proposed regulations strike the most efficient balance between safety and feasibility. Now that the comment period has begun, interested parties should consider beginning their analysis of the proposed rule.

Barnes & Thornburg’s Pipeline Practice team will continue to monitor the proposed rule and analyze its implications on our clients’ operations and the industry as it moves through the rulemaking process.

For more information regarding the proposed rule or for other pipeline questions, please contact Pipeline Practice Team members Paul Drucker at Paul.Drucker@btlaw.com or 312-214-8806; Jill Fortney at Jill.Fortney@btlaw.com or 312-214-4802; Beth Davis at Beth.Davis@btlaw.com or 404-264-4025; Paul Garinger at Paul.Garinger@btlaw.com or 614-628-1454; or Michael Elam at Michael.Elam@btlaw.com or 312-214-5630.

You can also visit our Pipeline Practice online.

© 2016 Barnes & Thornburg LLP. All Rights Reserved. This page, and all information on it, is proprietary and the property of Barnes & Thornburg LLP. It may not be reproduced, in any form, without the express written consent of Barnes & Thornburg LLP.

This Barnes & Thornburg LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.

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