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DOT/PHMSA RIN: 2137-AF29 Publication ID: Fall 2022 
Title: Pipeline Safety: Class Location Requirements 

This rulemaking action would address class location requirements for natural gas transmission pipelines, specifically as they pertain to actions operators are required to take following class location changes due to population growth near the pipeline. Operators have suggested that performing integrity management measures on pipelines where class locations have changed due to population increases would be an equally safe but less costly alternative to the current requirements of either reducing pressure, pressure testing, or replacing pipe.

Agency: Department of Transportation(DOT)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 49 CFR 192   
Legal Authority: 49 U.S.C. 60101 et seq.   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

Section 5 of the Pipeline Safety Act of 2011 required the Secretary of Transportation to evaluate and issue a report on whether integrity management (IM) requirements should be expanded beyond high-consequence areas and whether such expansion would mitigate the need for class location requirements. PHMSA issued a report to Congress on its evaluation of this issue in April 2016, noting it would further evaluate the feasibility and appropriateness of alternatives to address pipe replacement requirements when class locations change due to population growth. PHMSA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking on July 31, 2018, to obtain public comment on whether allowing IM measures on pipelines where class locations have changed due to population increases would be an equally safe but less costly alternative to the current class location change requirements. PHMSA is proposing revisions to the Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations to amend the requirements for pipelines that experience a change in class location. This proposed rule addresses a part of a congressional mandate from the Pipeline Safety Act of 2011 and responds to public input received as part of the rulemaking process. The amendments in this proposed rule would add an alternative set of requirements operators could use, based on implementing integrity management principles and pipe eligibility criteria, to manage certain pipeline segments where the class location has changed from a Class 1 location to a Class 3 location. PHMSA intends for this alternative to provide equivalent public safety in a more cost-effective manner to the current natural gas pipeline safety rules, which require operators to either reduce the pressure of the pipeline, pressure test the pipeline segment to higher standards, or replace the pipeline segment.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

Congress established the current framework for regulating the safety of natural gas pipelines in the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968 (NGPSA). The NGPSA provided the Secretary of Transportation the authority to prescribe minimum Federal safety standards for natural gas pipeline facilities. That authority, as amended in subsequent reauthorizations, is currently codified in the Pipeline Safety Laws (49 U.S.C. sections 60101 et seq.).


PHMSA is evaluating and considering additional regulatory alternatives to these proposed requirements, including a "no action" alternative.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

Preliminary estimated annual cost savings are $149 million.


The alternative conditions PHMSA is proposing to allow operators to manage class location changes through integrity management will provide an equivalent level of safety as the existing class location change regulations.

Action Date FR Cite
ANPRM  07/31/2018  83 FR 36861   
ANPRM Comment Period End  10/01/2018 
NPRM  10/14/2020  85 FR 65142   
NPRM Comment Period End  12/14/2020 
Final Rule  06/00/2023 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Information URL:   Public Comment URL:  
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Cameron H. Satterthwaite
Transportation Regulations Specialist
Department of Transportation
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE,
Washington, DC 20590
Phone:202 366-8553