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New Rules for CO2 Pipelines Under Review in the United States

15th February 2024

On February 1, 2024, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) submitted its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for CO2 pipelines to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. Under Executive Order 12866, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within OMB will have 90 days to review the submitted NPRM (unless an extension is approved). 

PHMSA’s Deputy Administrator, Tristan Brown, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives on January 18, 2024, that this update of current CO2 pipeline regulations is a priority for the agency and comes in response to the anticipated expansion of CO2 pipeline infrastructure in the U.S. The update will address the issues identified in PHMSA’s investigation and enforcement activities involving the 2020 pipeline failure in Satartia, Mississippi. The Deputy Administrator said the proposed rule aims to cover operational and maintenance safety issues relevant to all phases of carbon dioxide (gas phase, supercritical phase, etc.). Additionally, PHMSA is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy on four projects to better understand the potential impact radius for carbon dioxide, innovative leak detection methods, and material testing and qualification for repurposing pipelines and underground storage facilities for carbon dioxide transport and storage, according to the testimony. 

The submission announcement states the proposed rulemaking “would amend PHMSA’s Pipeline Safety Regulations (49 CFR parts 190-199) to adopt revisions that would enhance the safe transportation of carbon dioxide by pipelines,” including requirements related to emergency preparedness and response. 

Details of the proposed rulemaking are not made public until the OIRA review is complete. At that time, the NPRM will be published in the Federal Register and a defined public comment period will begin. 

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