Jurisdictional Evaluation: California Government Code Section 51010.5(a)

When Chapter 5.5 California Pipeline Safety Act of 1981 (CAPSA) was first enacted the definitions of which pipelines should be regulated or exempted in which results were nearly identical to the Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 C.F.R.) Part 195 enacted by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Over time, as pipeline releases from unregulated pipelines occurred in California and across the United States, the language of California laws and Federal regulations were amended separately to include these pipelines.  The amended Section 195.1 of Part 195 is adopted into CAPSA through Section 51011.

While the Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) understands how PHMSA regulates the pipelines identified under the 49 C.F.R. Part 195.1, it is important to note that the jurisdictional determination of pipeline under the CAPSA is slightly different.

The specific types of pipelines that are exempted under CAPSA are:

  • Section 51010.5 (a)(3) A pipeline for the transportation of crude oil that operates by gravity or at a stress level of 20 percent or less of the specified minimum yield strength (SMYS) of the pipe.

This CAPSA exempts the pipelines that transport crude oil by gravity or a stress level of 20 percent or less of the SMYS of the pipe.

  • Section 51010.5 (a)(4) Transportation of petroleum in onshore gathering lines located in rural areas.

California adopted more stringent state regulations than the minimum federal safety regulations of Part 195. Specifically, the CAPSA's more stringent requirements include Section 51013.1 (regarding Best Available Technology) and Section 51015.1 (regarding Annual Operator and Pipeline Inspections).

This guideline describes the procedure to request an exemption on the state pipeline safety statute (CAPSA) and associated requirements found in the California Government Code. Note: even a pipeline exempts from the more stringent state requirements, the subject pipeline may remain jurisdictional to the OSFM under the federal program. 


Step 1: Jurisdictional Evaluation Request

The operator shall submit a jurisdictional evaluation request to the OSFM, Pipeline Safety Division, Assistant Deputy Director via the Pipeline Notification email: (pipelinenotification@fire.ca.gov).

The notification must request to evaluate the jurisdictional status of the subject pipeline, specify which code section an operator requested to review, and must provide the following information about the pipeline:

  1. OSFM pipeline identification number
  2. Code section that an operator requested to review
  3. Supporting documents (e.g. MOP, SMYS, etc.)

Step 2: Field Inspection(s) and/or Records Review

Upon receipt of the request, the OSFM may conduct field inspection(s) to verify the information provided in the supporting documents.

Step 3: Approval

Upon approval, the OSFM will confirm the jurisdictional determination of the subject pipeline in a letter.

Note: The jurisdictional determination could change in the future if the operating conditions change in the pipeline or changes in applicable law occur.

Program Contact

The OSFM is available to discuss the Jurisdictional Evaluation program with any operator in a virtual meeting.

Virtual Meeting Contact:

Andy Chau
Supervising Pipeline Safety Engineer
(562) 305-0679