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February 2017

Pipeline Company Wins Withdrawal of PHSMA Corrective Action Order Item, Obtains Vacatur of Remaining Final Order in Settlement

North America - United States | North America | United States - North Dakota

On behalf of pipeline operator Belle Fourche Pipeline Company, our firm conducted an administrative evidentiary hearing before the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The case involved the appeal of an order by PHMSA arising from a pipeline leak in North Dakota. The hearing officer issued a decision that withdrew burdensome and unnecessary “computational pipeline monitoring” injunctive relief, a primary reason for the appeal. The hearing officer found that PHMSA had failed to understand the operator's leak detection system, and failed to show that the proposed injunctive relief would have detected the incident any earlier. 

Our firm appealed the remaining items in the CAO to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. The parties settled the appeal when PHMSA agreed to withdraw the CAO, and grant our client the relief it requested on the one remaining injunctive element that formed the basis for the appeal.

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