Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration: Pipeline Safety: Standards for Increasing the Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure for Gas Transmission Pipelines, GAO-09-166R, November 12, 2008
Subject: Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration: Pipeline Safety: Standards for Increasing the Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure for Gas Transmission Pipelines
Pursuant to section
801(a)(2)(A) of title 5, United States Code, this is our report on a major rule
promulgated by the Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous
Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), entitled “Pipeline Safety: Standards
for Increasing the Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure for Gas Transmission
Pipelines” (RIN: 2137-AE25). We received
the rule on
The final rule amends the pipeline safety regulations to prescribe safety requirements for the operation of certain gas transmission pipelines at pressures based on higher operating stress levels. This results in an increase of maximum allowable operating pressure (MAOP) over that currently allowed in the regulations. PHMSA contends that improvements in pipeline technology assessment methodology, maintenance practices, and management processes have significantly reduced the risk of failure in pipelines and necessitate updating the standards that govern the MAOP. Currently, PHMSA has granted special permits on a case-by-case basis to allow the operation of particular pipeline segments at a higher MAOP than currently allowed under the existing design requirements. PHMSA is codifying the conditions and limitations of the special permits into standards of general applicability in this rule.
The final rule has an effective date of
Enclosed is our assessment of the PHMSA’s compliance with the procedural steps required by section 801(a)(1)(B)(i) through (iv) of title 5 with respect to the rule. Our review indicates that, except for the delay in the effective date, PHMSA complied with the applicable requirements.
If you have any questions about this report or wish to contact GAO officials responsible for the evaluation work relating to the subject matter of the rule, please contact Michael R. Volpe, Assistant General Counsel, at (202) 512-8236.
Robert J. Cramer
Associate General Counsel
REPORT UNDER 5 U.S.C. sect. 801(a)(2)(A) ON A MAJOR
ISSUED BY THE
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION,
PIPELINE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS SAFETY ADMINISTRATION
"PIPELINE SAFETY: STANDARDS FOR INCREASING THE
MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE OPERATING PRESSURE
FOR GAS TRANSMISSION PIPELINES"
(i) Cost-benefit analysis
PHMSA conducted a cost-benefit analysis and determined that this final rule has benefits that justify its costs. PHMSA stated that since the present value of the quantified benefits ($1,541 million at 3 percent and $1,098 million at 7 percent) exceeds the present value of the costs ($328 million at 3 percent and $164 million at 7 percent), the rule is expected to have net benefits.
(ii) Agency actions relevant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. sections 603-605, 607, and 609
PHMSA certified that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.
(iii) Agency actions relevant to sections 202-205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. sections 1532-1535
PHMSA concluded that the final rule does not result in costs of $132 million or more in any one year to either state, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or to the private sector. PHMSA states that the final rule is the least burdensome alternative that achieves the objective of the rulemaking.
(iv) Other relevant information or requirements under acts and executive orders
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. sections 551 et seq.
The final rule was issued using the notice and comment
procedures found at 5 U.S.C. sect. 553. On
Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. sections 3501-3520
The final rule contains new or modified information collection requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act. PHMSA submitted a copy of these collection requirements to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.
Statutory authorization for the rule
The final rule is promulgated under the authority in 49 U.S.C. sections 5103, 60102, 60104, 60108, 60109, 60110, 60113, 60118, and 49 C.F.R. sect. 1.53.
Executive Order No. 12,866
The final rule was reviewed by OMB and found to be an “economically significant” regulatory action under the order.
Executive Order No. 13,132 (Federalism)
PHMSA determined that this final rule will not have a substantial direct effect on the states, on the relationship between the national government and the states, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, it will not have federalism implications.