State Pipeline Safety Regulations Updates

With many state legislature sessions adjourning, a variety of pipeline safety bills have been enacted into law during the first half of 2016. Several rulemakings have also been recently initiated.


Eastern Region


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. The Legislative Rules Review Committee decision is due by 8/11/2016.


SB 480  which amends Public Utilities Underground Facilities code in Title 12 was signed by the governor and became effective on June 1. It authorizes the Maryland Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Authority to collect an assessment for each dig ticket issued.

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 A02547 would amend the public service law to require operators of pipeline facilities  to  accelerate the repair, rehabilitation, and replacement of equipment or pipelines that are leaking or at a high-risk of leaking; submit standardized reports on unaccounted-for gas; and create a database of pipeline infrastructure for pipelines in large cities that includes their age and condition. (Note: although the summary for this bill refers to liquid pipelines, the actual bill text concerns gas pipelines.)

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 New York Public Service Commission has filed a Notice of Proposed Consensus Rulemaking to amend Rules and Regulations of the Public Service Commission, Contained in 16 NYCRR – Proposed Amendments to Chapter I, Rules of Procedure, Subchapter A, General, Part 10, Referenced Material; and Chapter III, Gas Utilities, Subchapter C, Safety, to ensure conformance with pipeline safety regulations contained in Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations.


SB 1235 would amend the Underground Utility Line Protection Law (P.L.852, No.287) to transfer enforcement authority from the Department of Labor and Industry to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC). It would remove existing exemptions related to municipalities, the Department of Transportation and the extraction of natural resources, in order to ensure that the Commonwealth continues to receive certain federal safety grants.  It would also provide for mapping of lines and facilities; establish a damage prevention committee; place additional duties on facility owners, excavators and project owners; and provide for assessments, fees and penalties.


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 6/10/2016. 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.

House Bill 4323 was signed by the Governor on 3/30/2016 and also became effective on 6/10/2016. It adds Code of West Virginia Article 5C. Reporting of Emergency Incidents by Well and Pipeline Operators which requires operators to report incidents to the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management at the Mine and Industrial Accident Call Center within 15 minutes. This article specifies required report information, the obligations of local emergency telephone operators, and provides for penalties and appeals.

Southern Region


SB 191 has been enacted, effective 7/1/2016. 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 2755 has been enacted to amend Mississippi Code Chapter 13: Regulation of Excavations Near Underground Utility Facilities. It exempts certain routine maintenance activities on publicly maintained roadways and rights-of-way from laws regulating the excavation of underground utility lines; provides for the enforcement of damage prevention and related civil penalties; creates the underground facilities damage prevention board and prescribes it powers; provides for investigation of violations and penalties; specifies response time for design requests from operator. This act is effective 7/1/2016, except the enforcement section, which is effective 1/1/2017.

Central Region


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.


The Iowa Utilities Board has issued an Order Commencing Rulemaking to update its rules in Chapter 10 – Intrastate Gas and Underground Gas Storage, and Chapter 19 – Service Supplied by Gas Utilities to adopt amendments and update references to technical standards.


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 4/6/2016 the 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 these Missouri PSC rules.

South Dakota

The governor has signed HB 1038 into law effective 7/1/2016, to clarify definitions and update citations to federal regulations regarding pipeline safety inspections.

Southwest Region


SB 119 has been enacted effective 5/26/2016. It amends R.S. 40:1749.12 and 1749.13 to define underground facilities to include submerged buried facilities and include two new holidays.

HB 249 signed by the Governor and effective 5/11/2016 provides for certification of an underground utilities and facilities damage prevention regional notification center by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections.


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. It passed the House and was reported Do Pass from the Senate Energy committee on 4/1/2016.

HB 1951 was approved by the Governor and is effective 11/1/2016. It amends 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.

Western Region


SB 1163 was signed by the Governor and becomes effective in 8/6/2016. 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.

On December 15, 2015, the Arizona Corporation Commission adopted by an emergency rulemaking amendments to its Pipeline Safety Rules. Amendments to R14-5-202, R14-5-203 R14-5-204, R14-5-205 and R14-5-207 clarify the rules and update incorporations by reference of the most recent amendments to 49 CFR.


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 is similar in content to the Dig Safe Act of 2015 (SB 119 – 2015) which was vetoed by the Governor on 10/10/2015. The bill has passed the Senate. An Assembly hearing set for 6/8/2016 was cancelled at the request of the author.

In 2015, the CPUC issued an Order Instituting Rulemaking to adopt rules and procedures governing commission-regulated natural gas pipelines and facilities to reduce natural gas leakage consistent with SB 1371 (see the scoping memo). Workshops were held in March and April this year. Comments are due 6/17/2016 on the annual report template before it is finally adopted by the Commission and used for subsequent annual leak reports, beginning in 2017.


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 PUC has amended its rules to adopt published US Department of Transportation (USDOT) amendments associated with the construction, operation and maintenance of intrastate gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas facilities. The amendments being adopted are from the CFR Title 49, Part 192 (amendments through 119), Part 193 (amendments through 25), and Part 199 (amendments through 26).


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


The WUTC has proposed amendments to its rules for annual pipeline safety fee methodology for gas and hazardous liquid pipeline companies that would address allocating annual charges, accounting for money collected under the dig safe law, assessing an annual fee for master meter operators and federal funds received vs. those projected.


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 contained 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. Our FREE Rapid Update Service delivers all the latest news about pipeline safety regulations right to your desktop. Sign up here.

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