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The original item was published from 11/20/2019 1:50:09 PM to 11/30/2019 12:00:03 AM.

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Oil and Gas

Posted on: November 20, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Broomfield Counsel to Testify on COGCC Flowline Rulemaking

On November 20, 2019, at the COGCC flowline rulemaking, Broomfield, through its outside counsel Elizabeth Paranhos, is leading the presentation for the Affiliated Local Government (ALG) coalition with Boulder County, Erie, Lafayette, and Longmont.

On November 20, 2019, at the COGCC flowline rulemaking, Broomfield, through its outside counsel Elizabeth Paranhos, is leading the presentation for the Affiliated Local Government (ALG) coalition with Boulder County, Erie, Lafayette, and Longmont. The ALG was allotted 15 minutes for its presentation. Broomfield used an outside pipeline consultant to recommend revisions to the COGCC 1100 series including strengthening the leak detection and integrity management provisions applicable to COGCC-regulated flowlines and crude oil transfer lines.  Broomfield’s pre-hearing statement on behalf of the ALG is linked here.

  1. The ALG is proposing to require operators of existing off-location flowlines already registered with the Commission an updated Form 44 that includes information on corrosion protection and integrity management

  2. The ALG is proposing to extend the 3rd party inspection requirement to all off-location flowlines

  3. Broomfield staff and counsel met two times with COGCC staff in advance of the rulemaking and some of Broomfield's recommendations, as a result, were incorporated in COGCC's proposed rules, including  additional recordkeeping requirements and for data on construction methods for existing lines. 

  4. The ALG is requesting that operators notify the COGCC 30 days before abandoning on and off-location flowlines and is allowing local governments 15 days to weigh in on plans to abandon on-location and off-location lines. 

  5. Note however, that the new rules allow abandonment in place if the surface owner agreement w/ the current surface owner allows; or if the federal government directs abandonment in place; or if the line is co-located with other active lines; or if successful revegetation has occurred or is in process and removal would harm revegetation.   The rules allow for automatic abandonment in place in these instances, so even if local governments provide comments, the rules do not appear to allow the Director to direct removal based on the local input.  Of course, the local rule could dictate something different, but then we would be in the world of having to decide whether the local rule or state rule is more protective.  Local rules may need to have some provisions governing the process that applies if there is a dispute between its rules and the state’s.

  6. If an operator wishes to abandon in place due to other reasons, including if the line is a sensitive wildlife habitat, then the Director may require removal upon finding that abandonment in place creates greater impacts to public health, etc than removal.  The ALG is recommending a change in the language referring to sensitive areas and now the language refers to defined terms in the COGCC rules: sensitive wildlife habitat and restricted surface occupancy area are both defined in R 101.  

  7. The ALG is supportive of GIS data for existing off-location lines with horizontal accuracy of + or – 25 ft, but has requested accuracy up to 1 meter (3.2 feet).  

  8. Even though the ALG requested that leak detection requirements to off-location flowlines, COGCC did not include this in that rule. The ALG still advocates for this.  If the ALG is not successful, we will request to work with COGCC staff to gather information on available leak detection methods for off-location flowlines? One of the recommendations of the CSU report was for pilot studies to gather info on efficacy leak detection methods for off-location flowlines. while there is data on methods for PHMSA-regulated pipelines, there is not peer-reviewed data on efficacy for flowlines.  

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