EPA Proposal Would End PE Requirement

Thursday, December 13, 2018

NSPE has raised objections to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed elimination of a requirement that closed vent emissions system modifications be reviewed and sealed by a professional engineer. The objections were outlined in a public comment to the agency, which is reconsidering emission standards for the oil and natural gas sector. Under the current rule, anytime a closed vent system is altered or modified, the changes must be reviewed and sealed by a professional engineer. The EPA wants to relax that rule, however, and allow approval by nonlicensed in-house engineers.

The EPA’s proposal runs counter to a recent recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board in response to the Merrick Valley, Massachusetts, gas pipeline explosions. NTSB’s preliminary report included an urgent recommendation that public utility licensing exemptions be eliminated. In its comments to the EPA, NSPE referenced the NTSB report and also objected to the industry’s characterizations that there aren’t enough PEs available to meet this requirement.