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第五巡回法院认为过去的管道泄漏事故没有决定性的作用,以确定运营商是否“考虑”了管道风险因素

管道泄漏是否表示操作员’s failed attempt to 考虑 all relevant risk factors when the pipeline has had leaks in the past? In the context of pipeline integrity management regulations, the Court of Appeals of the 第五巡回赛 said no.  2017年8月14日,法院撤消了部分管道有害物质安全管理局(“PHMSA”)至埃克森美孚管道公司(“ExxonMobil”), which found that 埃克森美孚 failed to properly 考虑 the susceptibility of certain portions of its Pegasus Pipeline to seam failure and assessed a civil penalty of $2.6 million.  The opinion in 埃克森美孚 Pipeline Company v. United States DOT determined that, despite an oil leak from its Pegasus Pipeline, 埃克森美孚 was not in violation of PHMSA regulations requiring it to 考虑 all risk factors that reflected the risk conditions on a certain pipeline segment because 埃克森美孚 “认真[认真]谨慎地进行知情决策过程,并在做出决策时合理考虑所有相关风险因素”管道没有接缝故障的风险。 2017美国应用LEXIS 15144(2017年8月14日)。

2013年3月,长达859英里的飞马天然气管道破裂,从伊利诺伊州帕托卡到得克萨斯州尼德兰的原油运输破裂,使阿肯色州五月花附近的数千桶石油泄漏。在调查之后,PHMSA发出了一项最终命令,裁定埃克森美孚违反了多项管道安全法规,包括在建立完整性管理计划评估计划时未考虑所有风险因素(“IMP”)在飞马管道的高风险区域。  49 C.F.R. § 195.452(e). 《管道安全法》和PHMSA法规要求管道运营商为可能影响严重后果区域(包括人口稠密区域和环境敏感区域)的所有管道创建IMP。 管道完整性法规规定了操作员可以使用的某些评估方法,其中还包括对使用低频电阻焊钢(“LF-ERW”),因为接缝破坏率更高。  The regulations include no specific method for operators to determine whether 低频电磁波 pipe is susceptible to longitudinal seam failure, but PHMSA commissioned and published a third-party report which provides a methodology of determining seam-failure susceptibility.  Because the Pegasus Pipeline contained 低频电磁波 pipe, 埃克森美孚 was subject to those additional regulatory requirements.

PHMSA’的最终命令包括基于埃克森美孚的四次违规’s alleged failure to 考虑 all risk factors in its pipeline assessment schedule. PHMSA cited past occurrences of seam failure as the basis for its conclusion that 埃克森美孚 erroneously determined that the pipeline was not susceptible to seam failure and did not properly assess the pipeline’s integrity. 在对最终订单的上诉中,埃克森美孚提到了它从2004年底开始进行的许多接缝评估。  Each of those evaluations applied the methodology published by PHMSA for 低频电磁波 pipe, with expert testimony establishing that 埃克森美孚 properly followed the methodology in its 考虑ation of risk factors and its conclusion that the pipeline was not susceptible to seam failure despite the leak in 2013.     

法院同意埃克森美孚公司的判决,认为PHMSA在最后命令中就其五项违法行为采取了任意和反复无常的行动。 49 C.F.R.§195.452(e)(1)是一个基于过程的法规,并不强制一定的结果,而只是让操作员容易做出有关接缝破坏的决定。 具体而言,法院裁定“consider”该规定意味着管道运营商必须“在进行决策时,应合理考虑所有相关风险因素,认真,真诚地认真进行明智的决策过程。” 法院说,释放已经发生,“did not necessarily mean that 埃克森美孚 failed to abide by the pipeline integrity regulations in 考虑ing the appropriate risk factors.”  Because the Court found that 埃克森美孚 conducted its seam-failure evaluations properly in accordance with the PHMSA-published report, 埃克森美孚 had sufficiently established that it 考虑ed all relevant risk factors in accordance with the regulations.  Accordingly, the Court vacated the final order and penalty amount with respect to those violations based on the 考虑ation of risk factors.