Beveridge & Diamond advises energy and chemical companies on issues relating to their oil, gas, and hazardous liquid pipelines. Our experience includes pipeline project development and permitting, regulatory compliance, risk assessments, worker and process safety, disposition of assests, enforcement readiness, internal investigations, and enforcement defense.
In the past several years, increased production of tight oil resources in the U.S., new regulations, and several high-profile accidents have brought pipeline safety and infrastructure issues into the spotlight for regulators and concerned citizens alike. Our attorneys know about this dynamic regulatory and enforcement landscape and have important relationships with the agencies that govern pipeline construction and operation, including the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the Department of Transportation (PHMSA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement/Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), and the Army Corps of Engineers. Enhanced by the bench of lawyers who focus on related issues, including hazardous materials transportation, the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act (CERCLA), the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970, and White Collar investigations, we offer experienced, strategic and solution-oriented support on project development, compliance, enforcement, and litigation matters.
Visit our Pipeline Safety Resource Center.
Pipeline Construction and Decommissioning
- Representing a Pacific Northwest county in permitting, enforcement, litigation (including a CWA citizen suit), and negotiation of Supplemental Environmental Projects arising from the construction of a 60-mile natural gas pipeline with almost 200 jurisdictional water and wetlands crossings, many of which were through habitat for ESA-listed salmonids.
- Assisting Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas operators with issues related to the decommissioning and abandonment of subsea pipelines.
- Representing midstream oil and gas companies on a range of environmental issues relating to pipeline siting, including identifying NEPA strategies, coordinating ESA compliance, evaluating CWA jurisdiction and permitting impacts to waters and wetlands, and coordinating with federal and state agencies to obtain all necessary permits and authorizations.
- Counseling midstream oil and gas companies on the development of multi-state habitat conservation plans under the ESA to obtain incidental take permits covering pipeline development, operation, and related activities.
- Drafting comments on proposed BLM rules regulating the acquisition and maintenance of pipeline rights-of-way on behalf of a natural gas pipeline trade association.
PHMSA Pipeline Safety Regulations
- Preparing industry comments on PHMSA’s 2016 proposal to overhaul the U.S. gas pipeline safety regulations, including jurisdictional expansion to gathering lines.
- Providing client training on compliance with PHMSA’s newly-revised gas and hazardous liquids pipeline safety regulations, and the impact of the 2016 PIPES Act on operations and enforcement.
- Providing guidance to national operators on inter- and intrastate pipeline safety jurisdiction and federal/state implementation of PHMSA’s new regulatory program.
- Assessing the applicability of PHMSA pipeline safety regulations and cathodic protection regulations to pipelines owned by a midstream gas pipeline operator.
- Assessing the applicability of PHMSA pipeline requirements to the co-location of gas transmission infrastructure.
- Performing in-depth regulatory analysis on the applicability of safety regulations to pipeline systems, including research on the history of relevant legislative and regulatory provisions as they relate to specific facilities such as gathering lines.
Spills from Pipelines
- Pursuing claims by the former owner of a pipeline against the current owner for remediation costs associated with pipeline releases believed to be caused by split seam weld corrosion and/or pinholes. Our work includes close collaboration with industry experts to evaluate the current owner’s operational practices and compliance with pipeline safety regulations governing pipeline integrity management, corrosion control, leak detection, pressure testing, and other integrity assessment methods.
- Obtaining over $2M in attorney fee awards on behalf of a pipeline company in federal court in New Jersey in connection with defeating New Jersey statutory and common law claims alleging that a spill from the company’s pipeline was responsible for benzene contamination at a Superfund site, and prevailing on an indemnity claim against a contractor that punctured the pipeline.
- Designing and overseeing a four-month internal investigation in the aftermath of a significant pipeline rupture. This investigation involved managing complex parallel proceedings in both the criminal and civil/regulatory arenas. In addition to focusing on historical factual issues, the investigation included a root cause analysis that outlined the corrective steps necessary to prevent recurrence and improve overall compliance. We also successfully negotiated a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justic.
Air and Water Emissions from Pipelines
- Advising and representing pipeline companies on state and federal CAA permitting issues, including aggregation analyses regarding what constitutes the stationary source for the purpose of determining whether state or federal (PSD or nonattainment) permitting is required.
- Helping pipeline companies respond to wide-ranging EPA information requests and enforcement actions regarding CAA New Source Review permitting and Maximum Available Control Technology compliance.
- Assisting project developers with obtaining CWA Section 408 authorizations for pipelines and other projects crossing federally-regulated levies.
Wastes from Pipelines
- Assessing the applicability of federal hazardous waste regulations under RCRA, and corresponding state rules, to the management of condensate removed from pipelines carrying various gases.