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Interpretation Response #PI-01-0111 ([Sempra Energy] [Ms. Joyce A. Padleschat Attorney])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Sempra Energy

Individual Name: Ms. Joyce A. Padleschat Attorney

Location State: CA Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

U.S. Department of Transportation
Research and Special Programs Administration
400 Seventh St., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20590

June 1, 2001

Ms. Joyce A. Padleschat Attorney
Sempra Energy
101 Ash Street
San Diego, CA 92101-3017

Dear Ms. Padleschat:

This letter is in response to your letter of May 1, 2001, requesting clarification of the definition of "pipeline facilities" as used in federal gas pipeline safety regulations at 49 CFR Part 192.

Sempra was asked by the Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) for Kern County, California, to prepare a Risk Management Plan (RMP) for anhydrous ammonia storage and handling facilities, which are part of a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system used for controlling NO emissions from a natural gas pipeline compressor station. Preparation of RMPs for certain stationary pollution sources is required by the regulations of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 40 CFR § 68.3. Because the SCR facilities are part of the compressor engine assembly, Sempra maintains that they are transportation-related "pipeline facilities" not subject to the RMP requirements.

The pipeline safety regulations at 49 CFR § 192.3 define "pipeline facility" as "new and existing pipelines, rights-of-way, and any equipment, facility, or building used in the transportation of gas or in the treatment of gas during the course of transportation." There is no question that Sempra's pipeline compressor assemblies, including the storage tanks for anhydrous ammonia, are "pipeline facilities." Although the term "transportation" is not defined, we believe that the anhydrous ammonia storage likely constitutes a "stationary source" within the meaning of the environmental regulations at 40 CFR § 68.3 (the RMP rule).

However, the gas pipeline safety regulations do not address NO control. Nor can the storage of anhydrous ammonia for the purpose of pollution control be considered "storage incident to transportation" in the sense of storage of a product being transported by a pipeline.

Therefore, the storage of anhydrous ammonia storage as part of an SCR system on a "pipeline facility" does not appear to exempt it from the EPA RMP requirements. Naturally, any determination of whether this facility is subject to RMP requirements is up to EPA and its state partners.

If you have any further questions, please contact me at (202) 366-4565.

Sincerely yours,

Richard D. Huriaux, P.E.
Manager, Regulations
Office of Pipeline Safety

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
192.3 Definitions