GPA Midstream raises concerns with gas mega rule comments

TULSA, Okla. (July 7, 2016) – The GPA Midstream Association filed comments today on the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) proposed rule on the Safety of Gas Transmission and Gathering Pipelines.

“GPA Midstream has a long history of successfully working with PHMSA to protect people and the environment while advancing the safe transportation of natural gas and natural gas liquids that are essential to Americans’ daily lives. This proposed rule as drafted will have significant impacts on the midstream industry, and we hope to work with PHMSA to lessen those impacts,” said GPA Midstream President and CEO Mark Sutton. “Even under PHMSA’s own initial cost estimates for gathering lines, the costs outweigh the benefits. PHMSA projected the costs to be $15.1 million versus projected benefits to be $14.2 million. In addition, our membership identified other elements that PHMSA did not take into consideration when formulating the Regulatory Impact Analysis that substantially increased the actual costs that PHMSA is imposing on our member companies.“

”This proposed rule in its current state is a huge expansion of federal regulation over gathering lines. PHMSA needs to ensure that this proposed rule is risk-based and that it does not require our members to needlessly use their limited resources in areas where it is unnecessary,” Sutton said. “We have significant concerns with the cost benefit analysis. I believe the costs that PHMSA will be passing on to our membership, and ultimately to the public, are much more significant than what they projected.”

GPA Midstream Vice President of Government Affairs Matthew Hite said, “While we appreciate working with PHMSA on this proposed rule throughout its lengthy history, GPA Midstream  would have preferred more time to adequately and more accurately digest the impacts to our members’ operations. This is a 500-page rule with a 500-plus page regulatory impact analysis that has been in final draft for years.  The stakeholders, including GPA Midstream, commenting on this expansive over-regulation, are paying the price now because this proposal sat on desks for close to two years. We find it very unfortunate that everyone was rushed to provide comments at the last minute, even after continued requests for this proposal to be released years ago when it was ready. A 90-day period to review and comment on more than a thousand pages of highly technical information was clearly insufficient.”

“We have significant concerns with the expansion of federal regulation for gathering lines; the record-keeping scope appears to be a gross overreach of what Congress intended PHMSA to collect, as well as the agency’s failure to conduct the congressionally required data analysis on gathering lines.  We hope to work with PHMSA to address these concerns and the proposal’s confusing language in order to make this a workable regulation.”