State Pipeline Safety Updates – 2016 Q1

Here’s a summary of pipeline safety rulemaking and pending legislation at the state level to date in 2016. Updates are organized by their PHMSA regions: Eastern, Southern, Central, Southwest and Western.



The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has proposed amendments to its Call Before You Dig Regulations (subtitle 16-345 Excavation Near Underground Utility Facilities) that add to and clarify definitions; clarify the functions of the Call Before You Dig, Inc. central clearinghouse; clarify the duties of public utilities; extend responsibilities to responsible parties in addition to excavators; define new requirements for markings; specify when evidence of compliance is not required to secure a permit; and other changes to enforcement and penalty rules. Comment period closed on 2/13/2016.


Both chambers have passed SB 480 / HB 696 which amends Public Utilities Articles 12-101 and 12-102 and authorizes the Maryland Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Authority to collect an assessment for each dig ticket issued.


Changes to the Code of Maine Rules, Chapter 895 Underground Facility Damage Prevention Requirements were adopted 3/8/2016, and became effective 3/14/2016. These more clearly define the deadlines for commencing excavation after notification and when re-notification is required.

New Jersey

AB 436  would require BPU to adopt rules that would require natural gas pipeline utilities to repair or replace pipelines that leak natural gas, within time frames to be established by the Department of Environmental Protection.

AB 1725  would require BPU to designate certain natural gas transmission lines as interstate natural gas transmission extension lines and define PHMSA jurisdiction for those lines.

New York

Bill S04862 would amend section 762 of the General Business Law to require all excavators contracted by municipalities or business operators to have completed training provided by the one-call system.

The Department of Public Service has a rulemaking in progress (initiated 9/25/2015) for changes to 16NYCRR Chapter I, Rules of Procedure, Subchapter A, General, Part 10, Referenced Material; and Chapter III, Gas Utilities, Subchapter C, Safety, Part 255, Transmission and Distribution of Gas, to ensure that these rules conform to 49 CFR, Part 192.


The Governor signed HB 1261, effective 7/1/2016 that adds Chapter 21.1 Interstate Natural Gas Pipeline Safety to Title 56, authorizing the State Corporation Commission (SCC) to seek delegation from the U.S. Secretary of Transportation of authority to implement the safety inspection provisions of the federal Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968. The SCC’s authority to conduct safety inspections of interstate gas pipelines will commence the July 1 following the date the SCC receives its delegation of authority from the Secretary.

West Virginia

House Bill 4218 was signed by the Governor 3/24/2016 and becomes effective on 6/11/2016. It amends  §24C-1-2 of the Code of West Virginia by expanding the definition of “underground facility” in the One-Call System Act to include underground pipelines for gas, oil, or any hazardous substances that are four inches in diameter or greater and are not otherwise subject to one-call reporting requirements under federal or state law.



SB 191 was sent to the Governor on 3/30/2016. It amends Title 25, Chapter 9 OCGA to extend the notice expiration to 30 days from 21 days, and to prohibit local governing authorities from adopting or enforcing ordinances which mandate marking requirements or standards which are different from those contained in state law or the rules and regulations of certain state departments.

An ongoing GPSC rulemaking (initiated 6/16/2015) would revise rules related to large projects under the Georgia Utility Facility Protection Act: 515-9-4-.02 Definitions and 515-9-4-.13 Procedures for Large Projects.


SB 250 would amend the Underground Facility Damage Prevention Act of 1994 (KRS 367.4901 et seq.) to modify and add to definitions (KRS 367.4903); clarify an operator’s response time to an excavation locate request (KRS 367.4909); include a locate request process for excavators when conducting a special project and when excavating a location covered by a manmade hard surface (KRS 367.4911) ; reorganize the Kentucky Contact Center board of directors (KRS 367.4913) ; to clarify issuance of citations for violations and require agencies to report to the state fire marshal the number and dollar amount of the citations issued during the prior calendar year (KRS 367.4917).

HB 365 would require operators of underground facilities to be members of the Kentucky Contact Center and release excavators from liability for damages to underground facilities of nonmember operators (KRS 367.4909).

HB 551 would establish the Kentucky Pipeline Safety fund with the proceeds from yearly assessments imposed on all pipeline operators transporting hazardous liquids or natural gas through pipelines based on their active pipeline mileage in the state of Kentucky. It also specifies the rules for various agencies for implementation and use of the fund.



HB 6165 would amend 220 ILCS 20/6 to specify that each person who engages in the transportation of gas or who owns or operates pipeline facilities shall procure and maintain liability insurance from an independent third-party insurance agent with $100,000,000 limits in general liability insurance and $25,000,000 in environmental impairment liability insurance.


The IURC has approved changes to 170 IAC 5-3 on 4/6/2016 to reflect recent changes to the required federal regulations establishing the minimum safety standards for the transportation of gas, hazardous liquids, carbon dioxide fluids, and related pipeline facilities; specifically to uprating as addressed by 49 CFR 192.557. The rule will now be circulated to state signatories for final approval.


Three bills carried over from the 2015 legislative session (HB 4511, HB 4512, HB 4513) would provide increased oversight of pipelines by the Department of Environmental quality and the Michigan Public Utilities Commission and require compliance with state’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. These three tie-barred bills were introduced in the House during April 2015 with no subsequent action on them.


SB 944 would amend 319.045 RSMo to increase the penalty for violation of the Underground Facility Safety and Damage Prevention Act or for willfully damaging underground facilities from $10,000 to $50,000.

On 4/6/2016The Missouri Public Service Commission ended its working case and began its formal rulemaking process for amending the commission’s Gas Safety Rules. The rules 4 CSR 240-40.020, 4 CSR 240-40.030, and 4 CSR 240-40.080 will be amended to adopt several amendments of the Federal Pipeline Safety Regulations that have not been incorporated in the Missouri PSC rules.



SB 119 would amend R.S. 40:1749.12 and 1749.13 to define underground facilities to include submerged buried facilities and include two new holidays.


HB 1950 carried over from 2015 would amend 63 O.S. 2011, Section 142.9 by requiring an excavator to call 9-1-1 immediately when damage occurs to report damages to the one-call notification center within 24 hours.

HB 1951 would amend 63 O.S. 2011, Sections 142.3 and 142.6 to require municipalities operating underground facilities to participate in the one-call notification center, and to mark or provide the location of those facilities in the same manner as non-municipal operators have been required to.



SB 1163 was signed by the Governor on 3/14/2016 and becomes effective in July 2016. This bill amends ARS 40-360.24 and requires that excavators must call 9-1-1 immediately in the event of damage to an underground facility that results in product release.


SB 661, the Dig Safe Act of 2016, is a comprehensive bill that would clarify and revise existing Dig Safe provisions in the Government Code sections 4216.1 through 4216.9 and add sections 4216.12 through 4216. 22. It would also add sections to the Health and Safety Code and the Public Utilities Code related to excavations.

This bill would:

  • Define and redefine various terms relating to a regional notification center, and would expand the definition of a subsurface installation to include an underground structure or submerged duct, pipeline, or structure, except as specified.
  • Require an excavator planning to conduct an excavation to delineate the area to be excavated before notifying the appropriate regional notification center of the planned excavation.
  • Require an operator, before the legal start date and time of the excavation, to locate and field mark, within the area delineated for excavation, its subsurface installations.
  • Require an operator to maintain and preserve all plans and records for any subsurface installation owned by that operator as that information becomes known.
  • Prohibit an excavator that damages a subsurface installation due to an inaccurate field mark, as defined, by an operator from being liable for damages, replacement costs, or other expenses arising from damage to the subsurface installation, provided that the excavator complied with the provisions described above.
  • Delete the existing exemptions pertaining to an owner of real property and would instead exempt an owner of residential real property who, as part of improving his or her principal residence, is performing, or is having performed, an excavation using hand tools that does not require a permit, as specified.
  • Require the Public Utilities Commission and the Office of the State Fire Marshal to enforce the requirement to locate and field mark subsurface installations and lines against operators of natural gas and electric underground infrastructure and hazardous liquid pipelines, unless these operators are municipal utilities.
  • Create the California Underground Facilities Safe Excavation Advisory Committee and require the Public Utilities Commission to provide a damage report to this committee. Each gas corporation would be required to provide information annually to the Committee and to the PUC.
  • Specify other rules for building standards and for the use of funds collected from citations.

This bill is similar in content to the Dig Safe Act of 2015 (SB 119) which was vetoed by the Governor on 10/10/2015. The current bill has passed the Senate and was ordered to the Assembly on 1/26/16.

SB1393 would require the PUC (unless it determines that doing so is preempted under federal law) would amend section 957 of the Public Utilities Code to require the installation of automatic shutoff or remote controlled sectionalized block valves on intrastate transmission lines that transport gas to or from a storage facility. This bill is set for a Senate hearing on 4/19/2016.


On 4/4/2016 the Governor signed HB 454, effective 7/1/2016, that amends and adds to existing law to create the Damage Prevention Board and to provide for its duties regarding the prevention of underground facilities damage through education directed towards excavators, underground facility owners and the public at large.


The PSC has proposed an amendment to Rule R746-409 Pipeline Safety that changes the definition of a reportable incident and amends the required reporting procedure.


References have been updated in Rules 480-75-999 Hazardous liquid pipelines—Safety – Adoption by Reference and 480-93-999 Gas companies—Safety – Adoption by Reference effective 3/11/2016.


The Public Service Commission has re-written and adopted all of its rules effective 3/21/2016. Rules for Electric, Gas and Water Utilities are now consolidated in Chapter 3. See this page for adopted rules and a rules consolidation cross-reference.


These updates brought to you courtesy of WinDOT, The Pipeline Safety Encyclopedia :  the easy way to stay current on state and Federal pipeline safety regulations.


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