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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Pipeline Emergency Special Permits

Aug 31, 2017

During an incident, PHMSA can issue an Emergency Special Permit without notice and comment or hearing if the Associate Administrator of Pipeline Safety determines that such action is in the public interest, is not inconsistent with pipeline safety, and is necessary to address an actual or impending emergency involving pipeline transportation.

Special permits are authorized by statute in 49 USC § 60118(c) and the application process is set forth in 49 CFR 190.341. Once an Emergency Special Permit request is received, PHMSA will determine on a case-by-case basis what duration is necessary to address the emergency. However, as required by statute, no Emergency Special Permit may be issued for a period of more than 60 days. Each Emergency Special Permit will automatically expire on the date specified in the permit. Emergency Special Permits may be renewed upon application to PHMSA only after notice and opportunity for a hearing on the renewal.

Following Hurricane Sandy in 2012, DOT/PHMSA issued an Emergency Special Permit to waive compliance from certain hazardous liquids requirements of 49 CFR Part 195 for the operation of two terminals in New Jersey.

The waiver allowed the operator to operate their facilities manually with personnel that were not qualified to Part 195 Subpart G. The non-Part 195 Subpart G individuals were required to be under the direction of qualified personnel, but would not be directly observed by qualified individuals. Ultimately this waiver allowed the operator to increase the output of product to near normal levels following the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

For more information on Emergency Special Permits issued by PHMSA, please visit its website for additional information, requirements, previous register notices related to special permit applications, and available state waivers.

Point of Contact: Requests for Emergency Special Permits should be directed to PHMSA’s Office of Pipeline Safety at phone number (202) 366-4595 and email

Last updated: Monday, October 30, 2017