On February 12, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) issued its long-awaited Final Rule establishing safety regulations applicable to underground natural gas storage facilities.
In 2016, Congress passed the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act (“PIPES Act”) which, among other things, required PHMSA to promulgate underground natural gas storage safety regulations within two years of the act’s passage. The PIPES Act was a direct response to the 2015 natural gas leak at California’s Aliso Canyon storage facility (regarded as the worst leak from an underground gas storage facility in U.S. history). Responding to the PIPES Act mandate, PHMSA issued an Interim Final Rule on underground storage safety in December 2016. PHMSA indicated at the time that it intended to address underground storage safety in a more detailed manner in a subsequent Final Rule. It has taken more than three years, but PHMSA has now issued the promised Final Rule…Read More