Obama Administration Plans to Issue Final Regulations to Require Operators to Use Leak-Detection Systems
The PIPES Act of 2016 reauthorizes the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) from fiscal year 2016 to fiscal year 2019. The PHMSA still has not issued 16 of the 42 congressional mandates from the 2011 reauthorization bill (the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011), and the PIPES Act will bring pressure to complete the mandates, one of which is leak detection. The secretary completed the study required in Section 8 of the 2011 act and found that it is practicable to establish leak detection standards, and therefore the Obama administration plans to issue final regulations to require operators to use leak detection systems where practicable and establish standards for the capability of such systems to detect leaks. The PHMSA says that a rule is currently under agency review.