198.53 When and how will PHMSA evaluate State damage prevention enforcement programs§ 198.53 When and how will PHMSA evaluate State damage prevention enforcement programs?
PHMSA conducts annual program evaluations and certification reviews of State pipeline safety programs. PHMSA will also conduct annual reviews of State excavation damage prevention law enforcement programs. PHMSA will use the criteria described in § 198.55 as the basis for the enforcement program reviews, utilizing information obtained from any State agency or office with a role in the State's excavation damage prevention law enforcement program. If PHMSA finds a State's enforcement program inadequate, PHMSA may take immediate enforcement against excavators in that State. The State will have five years from the date of the finding to make program improvements that meet PHMSA's criteria for minimum adequacy. A State that fails to establish an adequate enforcement program in accordance with § 198.55 within five years of the finding of inadequacy may be subject to reduced grant funding established under 49 U.S.C. 60107. PHMSA will determine the amount of the reduction using the same process it uses to distribute the grant funding; PHMSA will factor the findings from the annual review of the excavation damage prevention enforcement program into the 49 U.S.C. 60107 grant funding distribution to State pipeline safety programs. The amount of the reduction in 49 U.S.C. 60107 grant funding will not exceed four percent (4%) of prior year funding (not cumulative). If a State fails to implement an adequate enforcement program within five years of a finding of inadequacy, the Governor of that State may petition the Administrator of PHMSA, in writing, for a temporary waiver of the penalty, provided the petition includes a clear plan of action and timeline for achieving program adequacy.