Rural Gathering Gas Lines Getting Attention

April 1, 2016

Did you know that rural gathering gas lines are exempt from pipeline safety, or what many in the oil and gas business call pipeline integrity monitoring? Not many people seem to know this. This exemption means that all gathering lines on BLM leases, and in rural areas are exempt from the federal construction standards designed to prevent leaks. For us in the North Fork Valley, it is cause for concern given the pipelines in Gunnison County and the existing and proposed development that impacts our watershed. We are in the process of learning more about this very important gap in pipeline integrity monitoring.

In the meantime, as a result of the 2010 pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California  and explosions in rural areas, the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)  announced on March 17, 2016 proposed regulations to update critical safety requirements for natural gas transmission pipelines. This will include revisiting the rural gathering exemption. You can read the PHMSA announcement here

The notice of proposed rulemaking has been transmitted to the Federal Register for publication. An actual date of publication will be determined by the Federal Register, but a preview of the rulemaking proposal transmitted by PHMSA is available here

CHC is planning on submitting comments. Once we have had a chance to review the proposed rule, we will share more information with you.



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