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PHMSA to Release Anticipated Final Rule on Monday – Sort of

Let’s get something clear…

PHMSA is publishing a Final Rule on Monday (January 23rd), but it does NOT include the OQ portion that will have the biggest impact on the industry.

There are 132 pages in the new PHMSA Final Rule. Here are the most significant items included in this new Final Rule:

  • Accident & Incident Reporting – Notify the National Response Center within one hour after confirmed discovery of a pipeline incident or accident (verify or correct this discovery with product loss estimates within 48 hours).
  • Drug & Alcohol Electronic Reporting – Requiring operators electronic reporting for anti-drug testing results in 199.119 and alcohol testing results required in 199.229.
  • Drug & Alcohol Post Accident Testing – PHMSA modification of 199.105 and 199.225 by requiring drug testing of employees after an accident and to allow exemption from drug testing only when there is sufficient information that establishes the employee(s) had no role in the accident.
  • Control Room Training Requirements – Addressing the NTSB recommendation to extend OQ requirements to control center staff.

If you are asking yourself, “Where is the OQ portion of the rule?” We were too. After speaking with PHMSA on Thursday (1/19/2017), they confirmed that the OQ portion is NOT in the Final Rule slated for release on Monday, January 23rd. Our sources said meetings are still taking place to hash out the OQ sections, and PHMSA officially stated they are “delaying final action on the OQ proposals until a later date and fully expects to consider all the comments received and the recommendations of the Pipeline Advisory Committees related to those specific issues in a subsequent final rule published in the near future.” Discrepancies between some of PHMSA’s proposed changes, and feedback and concerns from the industry and the PACS, makes us believe we still have some mileage to go before we see the impacts we all know are coming.

If you would like to receive EWN’s detailed summary of the proposed changes included and postponed from this Final Rule, or a copy of the actual Final Rule, please contact ENERGY worldnet at 855-396-5267 or

EWN is the Trusted Leader in Compliance Management & Workforce Development. It is our duty to the industry to ensure we have the answers to the questions before the questions are asked. The OQ Final Rule is very important and we will be the first to know when it is scheduled to release. EWN has your back – stay tuned!