[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 20 (Wednesday, January 30, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 6402-6403]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-01958]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

[Docket No. PHMSA-2013-0015]


Pipeline Safety: Accident and Incident Notification Time Limit

AGENCY: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA); 
DOT.

ACTION: Notice; Issuance of Advisory Bulletin.

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SUMMARY: Owners and operators of gas and hazardous liquid pipeline 
systems and liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities are already required 
to provide telephonic reports of pipeline incidents and accidents to 
the National Response Center (NRC) promptly, accurately, and fully 
communicate the estimated extent of the damages. PHMSA is issuing this 
advisory bulletin to notify the owners and operators that, as required 
by the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 
2011, the agency will issue a proposed rule to revise telephonic 
reporting regulations to establish specific time limits for telephonic 
or electronic notice of accidents and incidents involving pipeline 
facilities to the NRC.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cameron Satterthwaite by phone at 202-
366-1319 or by email at cameron.satterthwaite@dot.gov. Information 
about PHMSA may be found at http://phmsa.dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On January 3, 2012, President Obama signed into law the Pipeline 
Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 (Pub. L. 
112-90). Section 9 of the Act requires PHMSA to require a specific time 
limit for telephonic or electronic reporting of pipeline accidents and 
incidents. Specifically, Section 9 of the Act states:
    SEC. 9. ACCIDENT AND INCIDENT NOTIFICATION.
    (a) REVISION OF REGULATIONS.--Not later than 18 months after the 
date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall 
revise regulations issued under sections 191.5 and 195.52 of title 49, 
Code of Federal Regulations, to establish specific time limits for 
telephonic or electronic notice of accidents and incidents involving 
pipeline facilities to the Secretary and the National Response Center.
    (b) MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS.--In revising the regulations, the 
Secretary, at a minimum, shall--
    (1) Establish time limits for telephonic or electronic notification 
of an accident or incident to require such notification at the earliest 
practicable moment following confirmed discovery of an accident or 
incident and not later than 1 hour following the time of such confirmed 
discovery;
    (2) Review procedures for owners and operators of pipeline 
facilities and the National Response Center to provide thorough and 
coordinated notification to all relevant State and local emergency 
response officials, including 911 emergency call centers, for the 
jurisdictions in which those pipeline facilities are located in the 
event of an accident or incident, and revise such procedures as 
appropriate; and
    (3) Require such owners and operators to revise their initial 
telephonic or electronic notice to the Secretary and the National 
Response Center with an estimate of the amount of the product released, 
an estimate of the number of fatalities and injuries, if any, and any 
other information determined appropriate by the Secretary within 48 
hours of the accident or incident, to the extent practicable.
    (c) UPDATING OF REPORTS.--After receiving revisions described in 
subsection (b)(3), the National Response Center shall update the 
initial report on an accident or incident instead of generating a new 
report.
    Currently, PHMSA requires pipeline owners and operators to notify 
the NRC by telephone or electronically at the earliest practicable 
moment following discovery (Sec. Sec.  191.5 and 195.52). In a 
September 6, 2002, (67 FR 57060) advisory bulletin, PHMSA advised 
owners and operators of gas and hazardous liquids pipeline systems and 
LNG facilities that, ``at the earliest practicable opportunity,'' 
usually means one-to-two hours after discovery of the incident.

Advisory Bulletin (ADB-2013-01)

    To: Owners and Operators of Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipeline 
Systems and LNG Facilities
    Subject: Telephonic Notification Time Limit to NRC.
    Purpose: To advise owners and operators of gas and hazardous 
liquids pipeline systems and LNG facilities that they should contact 
the NRC within one hour of discovery of a pipeline incident and should 
also file additional telephonic reports if there are significant 
changes in the number of fatalities or injuries, product release 
estimates or the extent of damages.
    Advisory: Owners and operators of gas and hazardous liquid 
pipelines and LNG facilities are reminded that the pipeline safety 
regulations already require operators to make a telephonic report of an 
incident to the NRC in Washington, DC at the earliest practicable 
opportunity (usually one-to-two hours after discovering the incident). 
However, under Section 9(b)(1) of the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory 
Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011, PHMSA is required to issue 
regulations requiring owners and operators to notify the NRC within one 
hour of discovery of a pipeline accident or incident. The 2011 Act 
requires PHMSA to establish a time limit for telephonic or electronic 
notification of an accident or incident to require such notification at 
the earliest practicable moment following confirmed discovery of an 
accident or incident that is not later than one hour following the time 
of such confirmed discovery. PHMSA will issue a proposed rule at a 
later date, but encourages owners and operators of the gas and 
hazardous liquids pipeline systems and LNG facilities, as a practice, 
to report such accidents and incidents within one hour of confirmed 
discovery. The information required to be reported includes the name of 
the operator, the name and telephone number of the person making the 
report,

[[Page 6403]]

the location of the incident, the number of fatalities and injuries, 
and all other significant facts that are relevant to the cause of the 
incident or extent of the damages.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on January 25, 2013.
Alan K. Mayberry,
Deputy Associate Administrator Field Operations.
[FR Doc. 2013-01958 Filed 1-29-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-60-P