|ENTERPRISE PRODUCTS PARTNERS L P filed this Form 10-K on 02/28/2018|
In March 2016, the PHMSA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking recommending new safety regulations for natural gas transmission pipelines that broaden the scope of safety coverage in several ways, including but not limited to: modifying the regulation of gathering lines by eliminating the exemption from reporting requirements for gas gathering line operators and revising the definition for gathering lines; adding new assessment and revising repair criteria for pipeline segments in HCAs and establishing repair criteria for pipelines that are outside of HCAs; expanding the scope of the regulations to include pipelines located in areas of Medium Consequence Areas (“MCAs”); adding a requirement to test pipelines built before 1970, which are currently exempt from certain pipeline safety requirements; modifying the way that pipeline operators secure and inspect transmission pipeline infrastructure following extreme weather events; clarifying requirements for conducting risk assessment for integrity management; expanding mandatory data collection and integration requirements for integrity management, including data validation; requiring new safety features for launchers and receivers; and requiring a systematic approach to verify a pipeline’s maximum allowable operating pressure and requiring operators to report maximum allowable operating pressure exceedances.
In June 2016, new pipeline safety legislation, the “Securing America’s Future Energy: Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016” (the “SAFE PIPES Act”) was signed into law. Extending the PHMSA’s statutory mandate through 2019, the SAFE PIPES Act establishes or continues the development of requirements affecting pipeline safety including, but not limited to, the following: (i) providing the PHMSA with additional authority to address imminent hazards by imposing emergency restrictions, prohibitions and safety measures on owners and operators of gas or hazardous liquid pipeline facilities without prior notice or an opportunity for a hearing; (ii) obligating the PHMSA to develop safety standards for natural gas storage facilities by June 22, 2018; and (iii) requiring the PHMSA to complete certain of the outstanding mandates under existing legislation and to report to Congress on the status of overdue rulemakings. The development and/or implementation of more stringent requirements pursuant to regulations implementing all of the requirements of the Pipeline Safety Act or the SAFE PIPES Act could cause us to incur increased capital costs and costs of operation as necessary to comply with such standards, which costs could be significant. These new regulations could increase our operating costs which could have an adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows. Until the proposed regulations are finalized, the impact on our operations, if any, is not known.
Our operations are subject to various environmental and safety requirements and potential liabilities under extensive federal, state and local laws and regulations. These include, without limitation: the CERCLA; the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”); the Federal Clean Air Act (“CAA”); the Clean Water Act (“CWA”); the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (“OPA”); the OSHA; the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act; and comparable or analogous state and local laws and regulations. Such laws and regulations affect many aspects of our present and future operations, and generally require us to obtain and comply with a wide variety of environmental registrations, licenses, permits, inspections and other approvals with respect to air emissions, water quality, wastewater discharges and solid and hazardous waste management. Failure to comply with these requirements may expose us to fines, penalties and/or interruptions in our operations that could have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows.
If a leak, spill or release of hazardous substances occurs at any facilities that we own, operate or otherwise use, or where we send materials for treatment or disposal, we could be held liable for all resulting liabilities, including investigation, remedial and clean-up costs. Likewise, we could be required to remove previously disposed waste products or remediate contaminated property, including situations where groundwater has been impacted. Any or all of these developments could have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows.