Interpretation Response #PI-12-0001
Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.
Interpretation Response Details
Mr. Kendall Lanningham
8300 FM 1960 West, Suite 225
Houston, TX 77070
Dear Mr. Lanningham:
In a December 15, 2011, letter to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), you requested an interpretation as to the applicability of the definition of an "identified site" in 49 CFR 192.903 to the Jetson Correction Center for Youth (Jetson Center). The Jetson Center is a state-run, secure care facility for juveniles in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Specifically, you state that American Midstream operates pipelines that pass adjacent to the Jetson Center. You further state that as of December 2011, there are dorms on the grounds of the facility that fall within the potential impact radius (PIR) for these pipelines and that the dorms are used to house a maximum of nine occupants. You state that according to a representative of the facility, the occupancy of each dorm has never exceeded 20 persons. You also state that the incarcerated youths are not physically impaired and are able to freely evacuate the facility in the event of an emergency.
You believe that the Jetson Center does not meet the intent of the definition of "identified site" in § 192.903 for the following reasons:
- these dormitories never meet the building occupancy count to qualify as a high consequence area (HCA);
- the detained youths are not physically impaired;
- the youths can freely exit the facility unsupervised;
- the facility is more a sheltered facility rather than a lock down prison type facility and is not listed as an example facility; and
- these dormitories are on the very outer fringe of the PIR for American Midstream's pipelines.
After speaking with your consultant, Mr. Bill Bertges, and Mr. Brad Ballard, Maintenance Director of the Jetson Center, my staff has confirmed that this facility is a correction center (prison) for youth. As described on the Jetson Center's website:
Secure care . . . is reserved for those youth deemed by a judge or by [the Office of Juvenile Justice] to be a risk to public safety and/or not amenable to treatment in a less restrictive setting. Secure care facilities are characterized by perimeter fences, locked units and high security. Youth are monitored constantly under direct supervision of staff, and are not allowed to come and go freely. . . . Youth are housed in dormitories, or housing units, with populations from 8-24, with an average of 12-15 per dorm.
Accordingly, contrary to the statement in your letter, the occupants of the Jetston Center cannot leave the facility unsupervised.
In addition, the definition of identified site in § 192.903 does not specify a building occupancy limit. Section 192.903 states inpart:
(c) A facility occupied by persons who are confined, are of impaired mobility, or would be difficult to evacuate. Examples include but are not limited to hospitals, prisons, schools, day-care facilities, retirement facilities or assisted-living facilities.
For these reasons, PHMSA concludes that the Jetson Center meets the definition of an "identified site" in § 192.903, and the area referenced in your letter meet the definition of high consequence area.
I hope that this information is helpful to you. If I can be of further assistance, please contact me at 202-366-4046.
John A. Gale
Director, Office of Standards
|§ 192.903||What definitions apply to this subpart?|