By: Scott Riccardella, Bruce Paskett, and Andy Jensen
On October 1, 2019 the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published amendments to 49 CFR Parts 191 and 192 in the Federal Register issuing Part 1 of the Gas Transmission Mega-Rule1. This new regulation is commonly referred to as the Mega-Rule, as it represents the most significant regulatory impact on gas transmission pipelines since the original Gas Transmission Integrity Management Program (TIMP) Regulation was issued in 2003.
As a result of numerous transmission pipeline accidents in the late 1990’s, the congressional Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 required operators of natural gas transmission lines to create TIMP Plans to identify transmission lines in High Consequence Areas (HCAs), conduct risk assessments and manage the integrity of covered segments in HCAs by conducting periodic integrity assessments. In 2010 through 2012, multiple incidents (Deep Water Horizon, San Bruno, California, Marshall, Michigan, Sissonville, WV) created a renewed focus on pipeline safety in Congress.