Revised Draft Pipeline Regulations Will Allow Longer Periods for Compliance and Will Undergo a New Round of Comments

Environmental Law  

October 28, 2019

On October 23, 2019, the Office of the State Fire Marshal (“OSFM”) issued a second 15-day notice to submit public comments on OSFM’s proposed regulations implementing Best Available Technology (“BAT”) requirements for hazardous liquid pipelines.  The proposed regulations, discussed in more detail in our October 3, 2019 Alert and March 11, 2019 Alert, implement AB 864, which requires installation of BAT on new and existing hazardous liquid pipelines near environmentally and ecologically sensitive areas (“EESA”) in the Coastal Zone.   In OSFM’s second 15-day notice, the agency announced that it will accept written comments on its proposed action for 15 days beginning October 24, 2019 and ending November 7, 2019.

In this round, OSFM pushed back relevant compliance deadlines under the new AB 864 regulations.  For example, pipeline operators will be required to submit a risk analysis and BAT implementation plan twelve (12) months after adoption of the regulations.  Previously, pipeline operators were required to submit a risk analysis and BAT implementation plan by January 2020, but with the delays in finalizing the new regulations a January 2020 deadline made no sense.  The risk analysis and BAT evaluation requires a detailed review of the consequences of potential releases and an evaluation of the latest spill detection and prevention technology.

In addition, OSFM announced that pipeline operators will be required to complete the retrofitting of existing lines thirty (30) months after adoption of the new regulations.  This would extend the compliance date by about 6 months from OSFM’s previous proposed deadline of January 2022.

The Initial Statement of Reasons and proposed modifications to the text of the regulation are available here.