"The beleaguered federal agency that oversees oil and gas pipelines meets today to consider lobbying push-back against congressional orders that it stop charging the public up to $995 to read one of its industry-developed safety standards."
"At issue is a little-known government practice called "incorporation by reference," the inclusion of lengthy industry standards into federal laws without publishing their full text. So anyone who wants a copy must pay a hefty fee.
Such shorthand appears in an array of regulations, but its use in oil and gas law ignited controversy after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, when President Obama vowed to stiffen supervision of offshore drilling and the American Petroleum Institute agreed to make public dozens of rules that it developed.
Yet when it comes to the nation's 2.5 million-plus miles of oil and gas lines, which saw three high-profile leaks between 2010 and 2011, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) continues to omit from its books an estimated 60 industry standards that have the force of law."