State Pipeline Safety Regulation Updates – May 2018

Here are pipeline safety legislative updates for May 2018. 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


SB 189 introduced on April 30 includes the following summary: The U.S. Department of Transportation has recently found Delaware to be non-compliant with enforcement of underground excavation violations. This jeopardizes federal funding for the Commissions pipeline safety program. Two principal reasons for this have been the lack of notification to State agencies and the lack of enforcement when damage is known. This bill updates Title 26, Chapter 8 by ensuring notification of excavation damage to the appropriate State agencies for potential penalties or other enforcement proceedings. It provides that either the Attorney General or the Public Service Commission may enforce penalties appropriate for the circumstances and gravity of the violation.


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; request for additional comments issued 5/18/2018.]

Three bills would impact the Dig Safe laws:

H3388 would clarify marking standards, and types of excavation exempt from marking requirements. Violators could be required to attend Dig Safe training. [3/29/2018 in the House Ways and Means committee]

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. [10/26/2017 Hearing]

H1813 would require land surveyors on construction projects to premark subsurface utilities. Violators could be required to attend Dig Safe training. [4/17/2018 accompanied a new draft H4420]

New Hampshire

NHDOT has posted the latest version (dated October 2017, modified per 2016 HB 626) of their Utility Accommodation Manual on their website.

 New Jersey

S679 / A2614 (previously S2673 / A4127) was reintroduced on 1/9/2018 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; 1/9/2018 Introduced in Senate, referred to Economic Growth Committee; 2/1/2018 Introduced in Assembly, referred to Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.]

A1471 / S668 (previously A250 / S1135) both introduced at the beginning of 2016 and reintroduced in 2018 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.
[1/9/2018: Introduced in Assembly, Referred to Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee; Introduced in Senate, Referred to Senate Economic Growth Committee.]

New York

Rulemaking was initiated on June 28, 2017 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.

The following bills are going through the legislative process:

S3743 / S6756 / A9985 – Would require all excavators to complete the training and education program provided by the one-call system.
[5/7/2018: S373 in Senate Consumer Protection committee; S6756 and A9985 in Assembly Ways and Means committee.]

A00467 / S04264 establishes a uniform leak classification system and would require classification of reported leaks.
[4/18/2018: A00467 delivered to Senate; 1/17/2018: S04264 amended and recommitted to Senate Energy and Telecommunications committee.]

A00656 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.
[1/3/2018: in Corporations, Authorities and Commissions committee.]

A00661 / S00066 / S02186 would require liquid petroleum pipeline facilities to accelerate the repair, rehabilitation, and replacement of equipment or pipelines that are leaking or at a high-risk of leaking.
[1/3/2018: In Assembly Energy committee; in Senate Energy and Telecommunications committee.]

A00917 Changes the description of fuel gas transmission line that requires reporting to include transmission lines of any pressure used to transport fuel gas. Currently, low pressure transmission lines (lines with pressures of 124 pounds per square inch (psi) or less) are not regulated, inspected, or mapped in any systematic way.
[1/17/2018: Passed Assembly; to Senate Energy and Telecommunications committee.]

A01016 would amend the definition of “excavation” to require excavators to request mark outs for excavations of greater than 6″ depth using hand tools; operators would be required to mark all facilities they operate, whether or not they installed them.
[1/3/2018: in Corporations, Authorities and Commissions committee.]

S04715 would require gas corporations to submit annual reports that include an explanation of methods used to establish replacement priorities, its operating and maintenance activities related to gas safety and a list of completed replacement projects.
[1/3/2018: in Senate Energy and Telecommunications committee.]

S05930 would amend the definition of excavation to include additional activities.
[1/3/2018: in Senate Energy and Telecommunications committee.]


SB 930 adds a subchapter to the Public Utilities statutes for service and facilities to provide for pipeline emergency management information.
[4/24/2018: First consideration in the Senate.]

SB 931 adds a subchapter to the Public Utilities statutes to require automatic or remote control shutoff valves on all new gas and hazardous liquid transmission pipelines, and requires testing at specific intervals.
[4/24/2018: First consideration in the Senate.]


Rulemaking is underway based on a petition of Columbia Gas of Virginia, Inc., to revise the requirements for trenchless excavation. The proposed Rule would (1) provide for greater flexibility when conducting trenchless excavation that crosses gravity fed sewer mains and combination storm/sanitary sewer system utility lines; and (2) enhance the safety and efficiency of conducting such excavations. According to the Petitioner, the Proposed Rule recognizes that technology developed since the Commission’s adoption of Rule 150 allows for safe trenchless excavation practices when crossing such utility lines without exposing them by hand digging.
[2/8/2018: Case established with a public comment deadline of 5/17/208.]

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. A second notice of proposed rulemaking was issued on 3/9/2018.

Southern Region Update


Rulemaking dockets were opened on 9/6/2017 to amend the PSC’s gas rules. The proposed rules were revised for several of these dockets in March after the comment period.


SB104 signed by the Governor on April 2 and effective July 14, amends the Public Service Commission Utilities law to ensure state penalties for violations of the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act conform with federal penalties; amends the Underground Facility Damage Prevention Act of 1994 to require underground facility operators to report to the commission excavation damage to an underground facility used in the transportation of gas or hazardous liquid and authorizes the commission to enforce and assess civil penalties for those damages.

The Public Service Commission filed amendments for the following rules with the Legislative Research Council on 11/27/2017. A public hearing was held on 1/24/2018, and written comments were accepted through 1/31/2018.

807 KAR 5:022 – General rules for gas utilities – eliminates redundancy and clarifies service requirements for natural gas utilities. [Pending.]

807 KAR 5:026 – Gathering lines – changes the engineering specifications of piping to conform with current industry standards. [Pending.]

807 KAR 5:027 – Gas pipeline safety, reports of leaks, and drug testing by operators of natural gas facilities – eliminates redundant and unnecessary state regulations that essentially mirror the federal standards. [Effective 3/12/2018.]

807 KAR 5:081 – repeals per the Governor’s Red Tape Reduction Initiative. 807 KAR 5:023 was repealed in order to incorporate the federal requirement for drug testing of employees of operators of natural gas facilities found in 49 C.F.R. into 807 KAR 5:027. 807 KAR 5:031 was repealed due to the enactment of the Natural Gas Wellhead Decontrol Act of 1989, which eliminated the need for gas well determinations. [Effective 3/12/2018.]

South Carolina

S 0774 would amend the South Carolina Underground Facility Damage Prevention Act to repeal sections that require a notice of intent to excavate or demolish.
[1/9/2018: Referred to Senate Committee on Judiciary.]


The Tennessee Regulatory Authority has changed its name to the Tennessee Public Utilities Commission. This change has been updated in both the Tennessee Code and in the agency’s rules.

SB 1812 / HB 1791 signed by the Governor on 4/12/2018 amends the Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act to authorize the underground utility damage enforcement board to establish rules for best practices for uniform color code and marking; declare it a violation if operators fail to become members of the one-call service by January 1, 2018 and imposes a $5,000 penalty for that violation.

Central Region Update


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.


SB0125 was signed by the Governor on 3/15/2018. This new law adds a new section to the Indiana Code in Title 8, Chapter 26 Damage to Underground Facilities. Provides that a person may not excavate real property or demolish a structure served by an underground utility facility without first being authorized to do business in Indiana. Provides that in an entity filing required or permitted under the Uniform Business Organizations Administrative Provisions Act, a person that seeks to excavate real property or demolish a structure served by an underground utility facility in Indiana must include a signed statement that the person will comply with the Indiana statute concerning underground utility facilities. Provides that before commencing such an excavation or demolition, a communications service provider shall serve notice on the executive of each municipality and county in which any part of the excavation or demolition will be performed. Provides that the required notice must be received by each municipal or county executive at least 10 full working days before the commencement of the excavation or demolition and must: (1) include documentation that all employees or contractors who will perform the excavation or demolition have received training on excavation industry best practices and on the requirements of the Indiana statute concerning underground utility facilities; (2) include documentation that all contractors who will perform the excavation or demolition are authorized to do business in Indiana; and (3) be signed by or on behalf of a person authorized to sign the notice.
[Effective July 1, 2018]


The Public Service Commission has proposed amendments (see 2016-057) to adopt by reference current federal regulations governing gas safety along with updating certain other technical standards contained in the rules. The proposed amendments may also make minor changes to Michigan rules so that the language in these rules conforms more closely to the federal rules.
[Request for rulemaking approved by ORR 9/15/2016; draft rule approved by ORR 1/2/2018; regulatory impact statement filed 1/12/2018; public hearing held 3/29/2018.]


SB0816 would increase civil penalty for damage to underground facilities from $10,000 to $50,000.
[3/29/2018: Voted Do Pass in the Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee.]

South Dakota

Two bills were signed by the Governor, with new laws effective on 7/1/2018:

HB1023 amends the state law to remove the exemption of rural gathering facilities (as defined by 49 C.F.R. 192.8) from enforcement under the state pipeline safety regulations.

HB1159 requires an excavator to immediately call 911 if damage occurs during an excavation that results in the escape of flammable, toxic or corrosive gas or liquid.

One additional bill signed by the Governor will become effective on 7/1/2019:

HB1024 establishes the Statewide One-Call Notification Board to provide a service through which a person can notify the operators of underground facilities of plans to excavate and to request the marking of the facilities. It requires all operators to become members of the one-call notification center and submit the locations of their underground facilities to the center.

Southwest Region Update


In February, the Louisiana Office of Conservation proposed to amend its Natural Gas Policy rules as required as a part of the Department of Natural Resources certification agreement with the US Department of Transportation. The proposed rule changes include additional requirements for direct assessment for Hazardous Liquid operators, excess flow valve (EFV) requirements, manual service line shut-off valve requirements, pressure regulating / over pressure protection changes, and enhanced rules for inspection of break out tanks.
[2/10/2018: Notice of Intent filed; comments due 4/4/2018.]


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 were effective 9/11/2017. A notice of proposed rulemaking was published for these same rules on 12/28/2017 to update these same references and other references to the Oklahoma Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Act, and the rules were adopted by the commission on 2/20/2018, and sent for approval from the legislature on 3/2/2018.

SB997 / HB 3407 was signed by the Governor on April 26, 2018 and becomes effective November 1, 2018. It changes the definition of an underground facility to include intrastate and interstate gas and hazardous liquid or carbon dioxide pipelines as defined in 49 CFR 192.1 and 195.1.


The Railroad Commission of Texas has proposed to amend its Oil and Gas division rules to amend pipeline fees and registration/renewal procedures pursuant to HB1818 (2017). Public comments are accepted through 5/7/2018. It is also proposing to amend the rules outlining testing requirements for oil wells.

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.]


The Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has adopted new flowline rules which became effective May 1, 2018.
The adopted rules include clarification of definitions; requirements for registering new and existing flowlines and domestic taps with UNCC (Utility Notification Center of Colorado – Colorado’s “one-call” program); provisions for confidential sharing of flowline location data with local government agencies; training requirements for flowline installers and inspectors; repair and maintenance (including records) requirements; required Tier One operator participation in UNCC; isolation and check valve installation requirements; integrity management and testing requirements; and rules for abandonment.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission is finalizing a rulemaking to amend its Gas Rules. The rules have been filed with the Secretary of State for publication, and become effective on June 30, 2018.

SB 167 would increased enforcement of requirements related to the location of underground facilities. In 2016 PHMSA conducted an adequacy evaluation of Colorado’s enforcement of its excavation damage prevention law and determined that the enforcement is inadequate. The bill creates the underground damage prevention safety commission (commission). The commission has rule-making and enforcement authority regarding specified portions of the excavation damage prevention law. Effective January 1, 2021, all underground facility owners and operators are full members of the notification association with full benefits, and excavators will no longer need to contact the owners or operators to arrange for the marking. All new underground facilities installed on or after January 1, 2020, must be electronically locatable when installed. The bill has been sent to the Governor for signature, and will become effective August 8, 2018.

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