The Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) has proposed several changes to its Part 190 procedural rules that would broaden its enforcement powers as called for in a pipeline safety bill that President Obama signed into law earlier this year (see Daily GPI, Jan. 4).

The proposed changes would meet the requirements of the Pipeline Safety Regulatory Certainty and Job Creation Act of 2011, which provided the Department of Transportation's PHMSA with stronger enforcement tools and increased civil penalties for pipeline operators that fail to meet safety regulations. Congress passed the legislation following fatal pipeline explosions in San Bruno, CA, and Allentown, PA (see Daily GPI, Feb. 11, 2011; Sept. 17, 2010).

According to the Washington, DC-based law firm of VanNess Feldman, the key proposed changes would:

Comments on PHMSA's notice of proposed changes are due on Sept. 12.

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