State Pipeline Safety Regulation Updates

Here is a wrapup of pipeline safety legislative updates for the end of 2017. Click on a region below to see details.

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

Southern Region Update  Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee

Central Region Update  Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin

Southwest Region Update  Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas

Western Region Update  Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

Eastern Region Update


The Department of Public Utilities is engaged in the following rulemaking:

Docket 16-31 will establish requirements for Uniform Natural Gas Leaks Classification.
[Reply comments have been received through 11/7/2017 and hearing was held on 10/25/2017.]

Three bills would impact the Dig Safe laws:

S1838 would require a survey by the gas company prior to an excavation project, and verification that gate valves are installed for all shutoff valves in the area are closed before beginning excavation, and that the valves are cleared and accessible.

H1813 would require land surveyors on construction projects to premark subsurface utilities. Violators could be required to attend Dig Safe training.

H3388 would clarify marking standards, and types of excavation exempt from marking requirements. Violators could be required to attend Dig Safe training.

All three have been referred to the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy.

New Jersey

S2673 / A4127 was introduced on 10/13/2016 and 9/19/2016 to increase civil penalties for safety violations with respect to natural gas pipelines and distribution facilities and hazardous liquid underground pipeline and distribution facilities. Under current law, a violator is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $100,000 for each violation for each day that the violation persists, with the civil penalty not exceeding $1,000,000 for any related series of violations. Under the bill, a violator is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $200,000 for each violation for each day that the violation persists, with the civil penalty not exceeding $2,000,000 for any related series of violations.
[11/21/2016: Passed unanimously by the Assembly; 12/5/2016 received in Senate, to Economic Growth Committee.]

A436  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.]

A250 / S1135 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.

A1725  would require BPU to designate certain natural gas transmission lines as interstate natural gas transmission extension lines and define PHMSA jurisdiction for those lines.

A2416 / S2324 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

Rulemaking was initiated on June 28 by the NY State Department of Public Service to amend their rules of procedure and gas utilities laws to ensure conformance with 49 CFR Part 192.


HB 47 would amend Underground Utility Line Protection Law, requiring the use of steel products made in the United States for the construction of new gathering lines.
[1/23/2017: Introduced and referred to the Consumer Affairs committee.]

SB 242 amends tthe Underground Utility Line Protection Law to add to clarify definitions, and to amend the language describing both the One Call system and facility owners’ duties and to modify and clarify the procedures for One Call notification.
[10/30/2017: Signed by the Governor; Act No. 50.]

SB 488 “Rural Pennsylvania Pipeline Safety Act” would create new statutes requiring the PUC to maintain a registry of all rural pipeline operators, and detailing the commission’s authority and powers of enforcement with regard to these operators.
[Introduced 3/6/2017 and referred to the Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure committee.]

HB 1700 “Pipeline Safety and Communication Board Act.” The board’s purpose would be to (1) To collect and disseminate to the public information of Commonwealth agencies relative to the planning, siting, construction, operation, maintenance, management, inspection and safety of and emergency response procedures for pipelines. (2) To coordinate communications relating to pipeline activities with Federal, State and local government agencies and regulatory authorities, pipeline companies and the public.
[Introduced 8/15/2017 and referred to the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.]

SB 930 adds a subchapter to the Public Utilities statutes for service and facilities to provide for pipeline emergency management information.
[11/1/2017: Introduced and referred to the Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure committee.]


The name of the Vermont Public Service Board has been changed to the Vermont Public Utility Commission. The name change has been reflected in all rules and laws.

Washington, D.C.

Chapter 15-37 DCMR Natural Gas Quality of Service Standards was added to WinDOT. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with amendments to this chapter was filed on 8/11/2017 to modify reporting requirements for gas outages and incidents; reporting and repairing requirements for gas leaks and odor complaints; reporting and responding requirements for gas emergencies; customer service standards and surveys; reliability standards; and compliance reporting. The amendments also propose remedies for violations that may include forfeiture or civil penalties.

Southern Region Update

 No significant updates.

Central Region Update


The states administrative rules for Part 590 Minimum Safety Standards for Transportation of Gas and for Gas Pipeline Facilities were amended effective 7/26/2017 to adopt federal standards in 49 CFR Part 191, 192, 193 and 199 as of April 14, 2017.


The Iowa Utilites Board is engaged in the following rulemakings:

RMU-2016-0004 Review of Intrastate Gas and Underground Gas Storage Rules in 199 IAC Chapter 10

RMU-2016-0013 Review of Restoration of Agricultural Lands During and After Pipeline Construction Rules in 199 IAC Chapter 9

RMU-2016-0015 Review of Hazardous Liquid Pipelines and Underground Storage Rules 199 IAC Chapter 13

Status information on these dockets is available here.

Docket RMU-2016-0014 Review of Interstate Natural Gas and Underground Gas Storage Rules in 199 IAC Chapter 12 was closed after the determination by the Iowa Utilities Board that the existing rules were adequate.

The rules proposed in docket RMU-2016-0007 Review of Service Supplied by Gas Utilities Rules in 199 IAC Chapter 19 were adopted, published and filed in November, with an effective date of 12/13/2017.


The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has amended its rule adopting updated federal Gas Pipeline Safety Code effective 10/1/2017.

Southwest Region Update


The State Corporation Commission adopted amendments to its rules for Gas & Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety to amend the dates for federal regulations adopted by reference. The rules are effective 9/11/2017. A notice of proposed rulemaking was published for these same rules on 12/28/2017 to updated these same references and other references to the Oklahoma Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Act.


The RRC has amended its Pipeline Safety Regulations in Chapter 8, section 8.1, to incorporate federal requirements by reference as of Oct. 30, 2017. This would incorporate six federal rulemakings. The rules were effective 10/30/2017.

The Commission has proposed amendments to its Underground Pipeline Damage Prevention rules in Chapter 18 pursuant to HB 1818 and federal pipeline safety requirements on 11/24/2017. Comments are due by 1/2/2018.

Western Region Update


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 original scoping memo).
[Decision D1706015 approved the program at its current stage, as well as changes to General Order 112F and extended the statutory deadline. A new scoping memo was issued on 9/20/17 to determine data requirements, how to integrate best practices and annual reporting requirements with federal and other state requirements, how to incorporate requirements into General Order 112-F, and ratemaking treatment. A proposed decision on Phase 2 is expected in the 3rd quarter of 2019.

The OSFM’s ongoing rulemaking to develop the regulations as required by AB 864 (2015). The legislation requires, by January 1, 2018, any new or replacement pipeline near environmentally and ecologically sensitive areas in the coastal zone to use best available technologies to reduce the amount of oil released in an oil spill to protect state waters and wildlife.
Furthermore, by July 1, 2018, an operator of an existing pipeline near environmentally and ecologically sensitive areas in the coastal zone would be required to submit a plan to retrofit the pipeline by January 1, 2020, with the best available technology. Best available technology includes, but is not limited to, installation of leak detection technologies, automatic shutoff systems, or remote controlled sectionalized block valves, or any combination of these technologies based on a risk analysis conducted by the operator to reduce the amount of oil released in an oil spill to protect state waters and wildlife.
The OSFM determined that it would not formulate new rules by the July 1, 2017 adoption date, and continues working to adopt regulations as expeditiously as possible.
[Draft regulations were last revised on 4/17/17.]

SB 801 was passed to amend the penalty assessment provisions of the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 2011, effective 1/1/2018.


On August 22, 2017, Governor Hickenlooper announced his seven policy initiatives developed during the State’s review of oil and gas operations. The State conducted the review after the home explosion in Firestone in April, 2017. The changes contemplated by two initiatives – strengthening COGCC’s flowline regulations and enhancing the 8-1-1 “one-call” program – will be proposed through a COGCC rulemaking process.
The flowline rulemaking scoping packet, proposed rules and the agenda have been posted on the COGCC site, with a hearing scheduled for January 8-9, 2018. The scoping packet includes COGCC’s Flowline Guidance and FAQ updated in May, 2017.

COGCC Pipeline (Flowline) Regulations and the COGCC Flowline Guidance and FAQ have been added to WinDOT.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission is engaged in an ongoing rulemaking to amend its Gas Rules. A hearing on the proposed rules was conducted on 10/16/17.


HB 365, signed by the Governor on 5/5/2017, established an underground facility protection advisory council and updated the provisions of the laws for excavations near underground facilities, effective 10/1/2017.


The Public Service Commission has proposed amendments (filed 8/10/2017) to its rules for electric, gas and water utilities outlining more detailed requirements for Integrated Resource Plans. The deadline for comments was 10/4/2017.

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