As the original deadline date looms closer operators might be asking themselves how well they are doing with process development and implementation of Part 1 of the Gas Transmission Rule: MAOP Reconfirmation, Expansion of Assessment Requirements, and Other Related Amendments, A.K.A the “Mega Rule”. You may feel that you have it nailed down or there may be certain requirements you are still debating internally. You may need to fine tune your scope evaluation process. You might have a good grasp on which paragraphs apply to different pipeline classifications or you might need an outside perspective. Some operators may want to double check pipeline mileage that could be affected by the different requirements. And as for your written processes, have they all been edited, double checked, put through your Management of Change process, and finalized?
The good news for busy operators is that PHMSA issued an Enforcement Discretion that applies to July 1, 2020 deadlines under the new rule in 49 CFR 192. While there is still an expectation that operators work “to the fullest extent practicable” to meet the July 1, 2020 deadlines, the Enforcement Discretion gives operators a six month window (until December 31, 2020) to fully incorporate new procedures.
To be clear, the extra time is not to be taken for granted. The Enforcement Discretion specifies that PHMSA will no take enforcement actions regarding the July 1, 2020 deadlines if an operator cannot meet those deadlines “for reasons attributable to the National Emergency.” The July 1, 2020 date is still the published date in the Federal Register, and it is each operator’s responsibility to act in good faith and continue to work toward the compliance requirements in a prudent fashion. The Discretion of Enforcement is just that, discretionary.
Meanwhile, the time between now and the end of the year is a great opportunity to tie up loose ends, gain further clarification on some of the regulatory intricacies, iron out implementation details, train personnel (management to field operations), and perform a gap analysis on your written procedures. Additionally, 2021 compliance deadlines and reporting requirements, which have not been changed, continue to march closer. There is no time to waste!
Elemental Compliance has the experience and expertise to support you with any outstanding concerns, questions, scope evaluations, training, program evaluation or improvements, and implementation. Please contact us at Nicole.Tebow@ElementalCompliance.com or Lauren.Tipton@ElementalCompliance.com to discuss how we can assist you with Mega Rule Part 1 details and implementation.
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