There is both broad agreement among federal regulators and industry trade groups on their commitment to improve natural gas pipeline safety, and a sharp divergence on whether the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) introduced in March and known as the Natural Gas Mega Rule, represents the correct approach.

Recently, both the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) have voiced displeasure with aspects of the proposal from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Among the complaints:

  • That the federal agency significantly underestimates the cost of compliance and overestimates the proposal’s benefits;
  • That insufficient data exist to support a broadening of requirements on operators of gas gathering lines; and
  • That replacing industry standard API Recommended Practice 80 (RP 80) with a more expansive program will extend the agency’s jurisdiction but not provide additional safety benefits.