[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 161 (Monday, August 20, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 50172-50174]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-20058]


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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

[Docket No. OSHA-2012-0033]


Expert Forum on the Use of Performance-Based Regulatory Models in 
the U.S. Oil and Gas Industry, Offshore and Onshore

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

ACTION: Notice of stakeholder meeting.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health 
Administration (OSHA); Department of Interior, Bureau of Safety and 
Environmental Enforcement (BSEE); Department of Homeland Security, 
United States Coast Guard (USCG); Environmental Protection Agency 
(EPA); and Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous 
Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) invite interested parties to 
participate in a co-sponsored stakeholder meeting, and submit comments 
on the use and implementation of performance-based regulatory models 
for enhanced safety and environmental performance in the United States 
oil and gas industry. The meeting will take place at the College of the 
Mainland, and hosted by the Gulf Coast Safety Institute. Speakers will 
address the current regulatory landscape and discuss the challenges and 
benefits of non-prescriptive, outcome-based approaches to reduce the 
frequency and severity of harmful events. Public attendees will have 
the opportunity to make comments at the meeting, and all members of the 
public may submit comments in writing. The purpose of the meeting is to 
gather information from experts and stakeholders to help inform the 
consideration of future applications of performance-based regulatory 
approaches in the oil and gas sector. The agencies involved are 
soliciting input on potential concepts and options, and are not 
proposing specific changes to existing regulations at this time.

DATES: The stakeholder meeting will be held on September 20-21, 2012. 
The meeting will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., CDT on September 20, and 9 
a.m. to 1 p.m., CDT on September 21. The agencies will post a more 
detailed agenda for the meeting on the registration Web site (see 
Registration section).

ADDRESSES: The meeting will take place at College of the Mainland, 
Learning Resource Center, Room 131, 1200 Amburn Road, Texas City, Texas 
77511. On-site parking will be available.
    Registration: The deadline for registration to attend the meeting 
is September 5, 2012. Please register online at https://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/meetings/mtghome.mtg?mtg=79. Registrations will be 
available for 150 public seats. The meeting also will be webcast live 
for online viewing. Instructions and information for the webcast, a 
detailed meeting agenda, and additional information will be available 
on the registration Web site.
    Public Comment: You are invited to submit comments that address the 
topics for consideration listed in Section II of this notice. The 
docket will remain open until October 22, 2012. You may submit comments 
and additional materials electronically, or by facsimile (fax) or hard 
copy.
    Electronically: You may submit comments and attachments 
electronically at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions 
on-line for making electronic submissions.
    Fax: If your submissions, including attachments, are not longer 
than 10 pages, you may fax them to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-
1648.
    Mail, hand delivery, express mail, or messenger or courier service: 
You may submit comments and attachments to the OSHA Docket Office, 
Docket No. 2012-0033, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-2625, 200 
Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210. The Docket Office will 
accept deliveries (hand, express mail, or messenger or courier service) 
during the Department of Labor's and Docket Office's normal business 
hours, 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., EST.
    Instructions: All submissions must identify the Agency name and the 
OSHA docket number for this meeting (OSHA Docket No. 2012-0033). You 
may supplement electronic submissions by uploading document attachments 
and files electronically. If, instead, you wish to mail additional 
materials in reference to an electronic or fax submission, you must 
submit a copy to the OSHA Docket Office. The additional materials must 
clearly identify your electronic submissions by name, date, and docket 
number so OSHA can attach them to your submissions.
    Because of security-related procedures, the use of regular mail may 
cause a significant delay in the receipt of submissions. For 
information about security procedures concerning the delivery of 
materials by hand delivery, express mail, or messenger or courier 
service, please contact the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-2350 (TTY 
(877) 889-5627).
    Docket: To read or download submissions or other material in the 
docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov or the OSHA Docket Office at 
the address above. All documents in the docket are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov index; however, some information (e.g., 
copyrighted material) is not publicly available to read or download 
through the Web site. All submissions, including copyrighted material, 
are available for inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  For press inquiries: Mr. 
Frank Meilinger, Director, OSHA Office of Communications, Room N-3647, 
U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 
20210; telephone: (202) 693-1999; e-mail: meilinger.francis2@dol.gov.
     For general and technical information about the meeting: 
Ms. Lisa Long, Director, Office of Engineering Safety, OSHA, 
Directorate of Standards and Guidance, Room N-3609, U.S. Department of 
Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone: 
(202) 693-2222; e-mail: long.lisa@dol.gov.
     For copies of this Federal Register notice: Electronic 
copies of this Federal Register document are available at

[[Page 50173]]

http://www.regulations.gov. This document, as well as news releases and 
other relevant information, also are available at OSHA's Webpage at 
http://www.osha.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    Multiple agencies share Federal health, safety, and environmental 
regulation of the U.S. oil and gas industry, from drilling to refining, 
both onshore and offshore. The oil and gas industry engages in 
operations that include, but are not limited to, exploration, drilling, 
completion, servicing, production, transportation, and refining. While 
the technical aspects of these operations can vary greatly, many 
hazards to both employees and the general public are similar. However, 
regulatory requirements between the various agencies often differ, and 
the agency that has jurisdiction over an operation can vary by either 
type of operation or location; in some cases, jurisdiction may overlap. 
For instance, BSEE, USCG, and the EPA regulate drilling and production 
activities offshore, PHMSA regulates hazardous material transportation 
both onshore and offshore, and OSHA has standards regulating safety and 
health in workplaces that include oil and gas drilling, production, and 
refining. Currently, Federal agencies involved in the regulation of the 
oil and gas sector employ regulatory regimes that have some elements of 
both prescriptive and performance-based approaches; the agencies are 
continually evaluating how to improve the effectiveness of these 
regulations and standards.
    On January 18, 2011, President Obama issued Executive Order 13563, 
which called for improvements in the nation's regulatory system to 
promote predictability and reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, 
most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory 
ends. Specifically, the Executive Order requests that agencies review 
existing and proposed standards and regulations to ensure they 
effectively protect ``public health, welfare, safety, and our 
environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, 
competitiveness, and job creation.'' The Executive Order also sets 
forth agency requirements for promulgating regulations and standards, 
including provisions addressing public participation, integration and 
innovation, flexible approaches, and retrospective analysis of existing 
rules. With respect to retrospective analysis, the Executive Order 
states:

    To facilitate the periodic review of existing significant 
regulations, agencies shall consider how best to promote 
retrospective analysis of rules that may be outmoded, ineffective, 
insufficient, or excessively burdensome, and to modify, streamline, 
expand, or repeal them in accordance with what has been learned.

    The Executive Order emphasizes that, to the extent feasible, 
regulations and standards should: specify performance objectives rather 
than specifying the behavior or manner of compliance that regulated 
entities must adopt; and be adopted through a process that involves 
public participation. Consistent with these objectives, BSEE, EPA, 
OSHA, PHMSA and USCG are soliciting views from the public regarding 
opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of safety and 
environmental regulations and standards in the oil and gas industry 
while enhancing interagency coordination. The goal of such improvements 
is to further the safety of oil and gas industry operations, while 
increasing environmental and economic benefits to society.

Types of Regulatory Models

    BSEE, EPA, OSHA, PHMSA, and the USCG are particularly interested in 
stakeholder views regarding the most effective regulatory models to 
address the issues noted above. There are many regulatory models for 
agencies to consider, ranging from prescriptive regulations and 
standards to more performance-based regulations and standards. 
Prescriptive models, sometimes referred to as ``command and control'' 
regulation, generally prescribe precise requirements. Performance-based 
models, often referred to as ``outcome-based'' or ``market-based'' 
regulation, specify an outcome to be achieved without prescribing the 
specific requirements to reach that outcome.
    One popular regulatory model in the U.S., the ``management-based'' 
regulation, falls somewhere on the spectrum between prescriptive and 
performance-based models. Regulators using this model generally require 
the implementation of management systems and practices that ensure a 
desired outcome. Regulations and standards developed under this model 
may specify the elements of the management system, but do not prescribe 
specific technical requirements.
    BSEE, EPA, OSHA, PHMSA, and the USCG have a mix of regulations and 
standards that incorporate prescriptive and performance-based 
requirements, including some management-based models. In addition to 
these regulations and standards, there are several examples of 
regulatory models in the U.S. and abroad that incorporate varying 
degrees of performance-based approaches that include, but are not 
limited to:
     U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulations;
     Contra Costa County California Industrial Safety 
Ordinance;
     United Kingdom, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Offshore 
Installation (Safety Case) Regulations; and
     2005 Norway, Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA), Framework 
HSE, Management, Technical and Operational, Facilities and Activities 
regulations.

II. Topics for Consideration

    The Federal agencies sponsoring this stakeholder meeting are 
exploring a number of topics that will help inform whether and how to 
further incorporate performance-based regulatory approaches into their 
current regulatory systems. These topics include:
     The advantages and disadvantages of performance-based, 
prescriptive, and management-based regulatory approaches;
     Whether these models could create synergies between 
multiple agencies; and
     What types of models or combinations of models could 
result in long-term economic benefits.
    To elicit specific feedback on these topics, participating agencies 
are requesting comment from stakeholders regarding the following 
questions:
    1. What are some benefits of using a performance-based regulatory 
regime to regulate the oil and gas industry? What are some drawbacks? 
In making this evaluation, consider health, safety, environmental, and 
economic impacts, as well as implementation challenges, cost to 
regulatory agencies, and long-term hazard-reduction effectiveness. 
Refer to specific models and provide data, when appropriate.
    2. Could there be a balance of performance vs. prescriptive 
regulations and standards in the U.S. oil and gas industry and, if so, 
what should it be? Does this balance vary for certain types of 
operations, business sizes, etc.?
    3. Is there a way to advance the use of performance-based 
regulations and standards in the U.S. oil and gas Industry? If so, what 
is the best way? Consider means, cost to regulatory agencies, cost for 
industry, and expected changes in developing your response.
    4. Could uniform implementation of performance-based regulations 
and standards improve efficiency and reduce duplication in a hazardous

[[Page 50174]]

industry regulated by multiple agencies? If so, how?
    5. What are the biggest challenges to successful implementation of 
performance-based regulations in the U.S. oil and gas industry?
    6. How can risk assessment best be used in performance-based 
regulations while still ensuring adequate levels of safety? If risk 
assessments are used in a performance-based regulation, should 
acceptable risk levels be established?
    7. How have authorities that currently use performance-based 
regulatory models ensured effective oversight (e.g., use of metrics, 
audit programs)?
    8. Are there limits to the use of performance-based regulatory 
models? For example, do performance-based regulatory models increase or 
decrease challenges for small businesses in comparison to prescriptive 
models? Are prescriptive components needed/desirable, and if so, under 
what situations?

III. Meeting Format

    The meeting will include opening remarks, presentations by the 
agencies and expert speakers, time for public comments, and closing 
remarks. The agencies will discuss their areas of jurisdiction, 
regulations and standards, and efforts in the oil and gas industry. 
Expert speakers will discuss the topics for consideration and issues 
related to performance-based regulations. In the time designated for 
public comments, meeting attendees will have an opportunity to make 
comments that provide the agencies with additional information that may 
assist them with their future performance-based regulatory efforts.

Authority and Signature

    David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, Assistant Secretary of Labor for 
Occupational Safety and Health, authorized the preparation of this 
notice.

    Signed at Washington, DC, on August 10, 2012.
David Michaels,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
 [FR Doc. 2012-20058 Filed 8-17-12; 8:45 am]
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