ONEOK Partners subsidiaries seek ruling on regulatory agency jurisdiction

ONEOK Partners

Three subsidiaries of ONEOK Partners LP (NYSE: OKS) have filed a declaratory judgment action in federal District Court in Tulsa, Okla., seeking a ruling on the jurisdictional limits of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

The action asks the court to rule on the extent of PHMSA's regulatory jurisdiction over ONEOK Partners' natural gas liquids (NGL) fractionation plant, associated storage and in-plant piping systems in Bushton, Kan., and requests a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to delay a scheduled PHMSA inspection of this plant until a decision is made resolving the jurisdictional boundary issue. 

"This filing is an effort to resolve an ongoing disagreement over the extent of PHMSA's jurisdictional boundaries at our Bushton NGL fractionation plant," said Pierce H. Norton, executive vice president and COO of ONEOK Partners. "Although PHMSA has jurisdiction over our pipeline systems into and out of the plant, the Bushton NGL fractionation plant is regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

"We believe PHMSA is outside its jurisdictional authority by inspecting and attempting to impose different regulations on the assets and operating procedures currently regulated by OSHA and the EPA. We believe that having different rules within the same plant could result in misinterpretation and confusion," added Norton.

The partnership remains committed to safe, reliable and compliant operations of its facilities.

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