State Pipeline Safety Regulation Updates

Even during the dog days of summer, state regulators have been busy updating pipeline safety rules and regulations. See details below for the Eastern, Southern, Central, Southwest and Western regions.

Eastern Region

Covering Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia

Connecticut

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has amended its Call Before You Dig regulations (subtitle 16-345 Excavation Near Underground Utility Facilities) with changes 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 effective date of the new regulations is 8/2/2016.

Maryland

Maryland has updated its rules under Subtitle 55 Service Supplied by Gas Companies to establish new regulations that will provide protections in instances where a customer is attempting to reconnect service after it is denied due to meter tampering. The regulations were proposed in June and adopted effective 8/29/2016

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.
[2/4/2016: reported out of Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee, 2nd reading.]

AB 250 / SB 1135 both introduced at the beginning of the 2016 legislative session would require public utilities and pipeline operators to reimburse a municipality for costs it incurs in providing emergency services to respond to any emergency involving a pipeline.

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.

AB 2416 / SB 2324 would expand the One-Call Damage Prevention System to include underground contamination with engineering or institutional controls.
[5/19/2016: reported out of Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee with Amendments, 2nd Reading; 6/6/2016 Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Environment and Energy Committee.]

A1252 would allow use of master meter system in residential multiple dwellings under certain conditions.

A1702 would prohibit the placement or replacement without prior approval of intrastate natural gas pipelines with an MAOP greater than 250 psig within 100 feet of buildings.

New York

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.

Bill S04862/A10499 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.
[6/7/2016: passed Senate, delivered to Assembly.]

A02648 would expand the definition of “excavation” for the purposes of the protection of underground facilities.

A02777/S05811 would require gas corporations to produce an annual gas safety report.
[2/26/2016: 3rd reading in Assembly after initial passage and then dying in Senate.]

A05083/S05206 would amend the Public Service law by adding a new section that would require classification and reporting of gas leaks by gas companies annually to the Department of Public Service.
[6/17/2016: amended and passed Assembly for second time and delivered back to the Senate for a third reading and then committed to the Rules committee.]

A07787 would require notification to the department of public service of any incident involving damage to any underground facility, and require DPS to post on its website its decision to investigate or its rationale for not investigating the incident.

A07965 would require gas corporations to file a plan with the public service commission addressing aging or leaking pipelines within their service territory and outlining plans for the replacement of such pipelines.
[5/17/2016: amended and recommitted to Assembly corporations, authorities and commissions.]

A04511 would require an operator of a gas gathering line or a pipeline facility to file with the department of public service a report detailing what is being transported.

A03237/S01805 would require low pressure (less than 124 psi) fuel gas transmission lines to be regulated, inspected, and mapped by the Public Service Commission.
[3/1/2016: passed Assembly and delivered to Senate.]

The 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. Comments were filed on 6/27/2016 from the Northeast Gas Association seeking to clarify application of the amended rule with regard to requalification of fusion joiners.

Ohio

An emergency amendment was filed on 8/12/2016 by the Public Utilities Comission to amend Ohio Adm.Code 4901:1-16-05(A) in order to effectuate the state’s one-call emergency notification system. The Commission also scheduled a workshop for August 25, 2016, with comments on this amendment and to Ohio Adm.Code 4901:1-16- 02(D) (to update adoptions by reference to CFR) due by September 2,2016

Pennsylvania

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.
[6/14/2016: re-referred to Senate Appropriations after amendment and second consideration.]

Southern Region

Covering Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee

Florida

The Public Service Commission issued a notice of Development of Rulemaking on 4/20/2016 for its Gas Safety rules to streamline them and incorporate the 2016 edition of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Georgia

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.

Central Region

Covering Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin

Illinois

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.
[4/22/2016: re-referred to House Rules committee after 2 amendments by the Public Utilities Committee’s Special Matters Subcommittee.]

In May, the Illinois Commerce Commission published the proposed repealer for Part 500 Standards of Service for Gas Utilities to repeal the rules currently found in Part 500; they will be replaced by the provisions of Part 501, which have already been adopted and which will apply on January 1, 2017.

At the same time, the Commission proposed additional amendments to Part 501 to correct cross-references, correct citations to reference materials and expand the roster of national measurement institutes that may be used for calibration standards.

Indiana

The changes to 170 IAC 5-3 became effective on July 1, 2016. The rules were amended 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.

Iowa

On August 22 the Iowa Utilities Board issued an order adopting amendements to its rules in Chapter 10 – Intrastate Gas and Underground Gas Storage, and Chapter 19 – Service Supplied by Gas Utilities to update references to technical standards and delete references to federal statutory provisions and regulations concerning outdoor gas lighting that have been repealed or rescinded. The adoption notice will be published in the 9/14/2016 Iowa Administrative Bulletin, and the amendments will become effective on 10/19/2016.

Michigan

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.

The Public Service Commission has proposed new rules – MISS DIG Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety – to be added to the Michigan Administrative Code. The proposed rule was published in the June 1 issue of the Michigan Register.

Missouri

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. The rules are currently awaiting DED approval.

North Dakota

NDAC Chapter 43-02-03 Oil and Gas Conservation section 29.1 Underground Gathering Pipelines (as effective 10/1/2016) was added to WinDOT. This section includes amendments that expand on regulations previously included in section 29 of the same rule.

Southwest Region

Covering Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas

Oklahoma

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.

Western Region

Covering Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

Arizona

On June 7, 2016 Arizona adopted an emergency rulemaking extension for its pipeline safety rules, effective for an additional 180 days, until December 9, 2016. 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. It contains an additional provision for the non-destructive testing of welds in LNG facilities that were opposed during the comment period by Spectrum.

California

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. On 6/23 the staff workshop summary and materials on targets, compliance and enforcement were entered into the docket record with a request for comments on these items (initial comments due 7/15, reply comments due 7/22, supplemental comments filed August 19.)

SB 661, the Dig Safe Act of 2016, has passed the Senate and has received a “do pass” from the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Carriers and Committee on Appropiations and after several amendments is back in the U&C Committee.

This 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.

Washington

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.


At ViaData, we’re all about pipeline safety. Visit our website to see how we can help you keep abreast of all the latest federal and state regulations, federal accident investigations and PHMSA enforcement actions.

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