On December 12, 2011, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a Notice of Delays in Processing of Special Permit Applications in the Federal Register. The Notice can be found at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-12/pdf/2011-31339.pdf.
In accordance with the requirements of 49 U.S.C. 5117(c), PHMSA published a list of special permit applications that have been in process for 180 days or more. The reason(s) for delay and the expected completion date for action on each application is provided in association with each identified application.
In the Modification to Special Permits List contained in the Federal Register, PHMSA lists over two hundred and thirty pending applications. While two applications are “awaiting additional information from the applicant” and two applications are considered “technically complex and of significant impact or precedent setting and requiring extensive analysis,” the remainder of the applications cite the reason for delay as “staff review delayed by other priority issues or volume of special permit applications.”
The volume of special permit applications has increased, and new applicants should allow for the additional time required to process the application. PHMSA still accepts filings that do not use the online system, which may account for certain processing delays. In the case of renewals, if the holder files an application for renewal that is complete and conforms to the requirements of 49 CFR 107.109 at least 60 days before the special permit expires; the exemption will not expire until final administrative action on the application for renewal has been taken.