PHMSA Announces Beginning of Discussion on Hydrogen and Carbon Dioxide Pipeline Safety

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The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) recently announced that it will hold several days of informational meetings to address topics important to carbon dioxide and hydrogen pipeline developers and operators. Interested parties should monitor these developments and consider providing input that could help the agency consider their perspective or concerns.

This year was a momentous one for hydrogen production and carbon dioxide capture, utilization, and storage. Next year has the potential to be just as big. It appears that the fundamental issue of how the pipelines needed to transport these commodities should be regulated will be a large topic of discussion across the federal government. While the rates and practices of hydrogen and carbon dioxide pipelines may fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) or the Surface Transportation Board (STB), their safety—like all pipelines—are regulated by PHMSA. Still, there are points of uncertainty as to how certain aspects of PHMSA's regulatory regime might apply to these pipelines, which are currently still relatively few in number.

In accordance with the agency's strategic goals of safety, climate, and sustainability, PHMSA recently announced that it would be holding an informational public meeting to address several emerging topics, including "The Future," which the notice described as including "Hydrogen and Hydrogen Blending" and "Carbon Dioxide/Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage." The meeting is scheduled for next week—from December 13 through December 15, 2022. It will be broadcast online with the in-person event taking place in Houston, Texas. The agenda and instructions on how to attend are available on the meeting website. PHMSA noted that it "anticipates further discussion on these important matters in 2023."

Venable's Environmental Group has extensive experience leading large projects through all aspects of permitting and is prepared to discuss any climate or sustainability goals that may be of interest, and Venable's Energy Group is at the forefront of evaluating emerging issues related to hydrogen and carbon dioxide pipeline transportation and regularly represents clients at the state and federal levels on pipeline regulatory issues. Please reach out with any questions on how we might assist your business to keep up-to-date on the dialogue and any potential outcomes.