PHMSA Finalizes Pipeline Rule on Ethanol

The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has published a final rulemaking in the Federal Register that amends pipeline safety regulations that, among other things, adds ethanol to the definition of hazardous materials.

“PHMSA noted in the policy statement that the demand for biofuels was projected to increase as a result of several federal energy policy initiatives, which would result in greater use of pipelines for transporting biofuels,” stated PHMSA in the final rule. “PHMSA also stated that ethanol and other biofuels are substances that ‘may pose an unreasonable risk to life or property’ within the meaning of 49 U.S.C. 60101(a)(4)(B), and accordingly, these materials constitute ‘hazardous liquids for purposes of the pipeline safety laws and regulations.’”

In the notice of proposed rulemaking, PHMSA did receive one comment suggesting that biodiesel also be added to the definition, but PHMSA said it would not adopt the suggestion, however it may be address in future rulemaking.

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