SRF Funding Dodges Funding Bullet – This Year

March 2014, Vol. 69 No. 3

INGAA had started the ball rolling back in 2012 because of commission staff discussions with pipeline representatives where FERC staffers stated that companies undertaking section 2.55(a) auxiliary installations to augment existing facilities must stay within the right-of-way or facility site for the existing facilities and restrict construction activities to previously used work spaces. Pipeline industry officials thought this was a change in policy, which would force them to obtain certificates when auxiliary facilities were installed outside rights-of-way. Auxiliary facilities at issue include: valves, drips, pig launchers/receivers, yard and station piping, cathodic protection equipment, gas cleaning, cooling and dehydration equipment; residual refining equipment and water pumping equipment.

Given that ostensible change in policy made outside any rulemaking, the INGAA filed its petition in 2012. The FERC issued a proposed rule in December 2012 which simply codified the position its staff had laid out. INGAA protested. FERC argued the proposed rule was only a "clarification" which "articulated existing, long-standing constraints and obligations with respect to auxiliary installations." It then took more comments before ignoring INGAA's protests again when issuing the final rule in November 2013.

The final rule also codified for the first time the common industry practice of notifying landowners prior to coming onto their property to install, replace or maintain auxiliary or replacement facilities.

David W. Reitz, deputy general counsel, National Fuel Gas Supply Corporation and attorney for Empire Pipeline, points out that PHMSA regulations require a company discovering a pipeline anomaly requiring immediate remediation to excavate and inspect the pipeline within five days of discovery. "Because of the time required to verify or determine the names and addresses of the property owners and to deliver the notices, five-day advance landowner notification would be impractical in these circumstances," he explains. “In addition, a pipeline receiving a one-call notification often has a maximum of forty-eight hours to determine and mark the precise location of its facilities, which may require some excavation."

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