Here are pipeline safety legislative updates for December 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
H5005 was signed by the Governor on 12/31/2018, effective immediately. It requires that professional engineers approve engineering plans developed by or on behalf of gas companies, and that those plans be filed and retained by the company for review by the Department of Public Utilities.
The Department of Public Utilities has received comments through 9/5/2018 in the rulemaking contained in Docket 16-31 to establish requirements for Uniform Natural Gas Leaks Classification.
S679 increases 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.
[Passed both houses 12/17/18]
SB6756 signed by the Governor 11/5/2018, requires all excavators of underground facilities contracted either by local governments or facility operators to complete the training and education program provided by the one-call system. In the event of damage to an underground facility, the excavator must notify both the operator of the facility and the fire department.
[Effective May 4, 2019]
A third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with amendments to Chapter 15-37 DCMR Natural Gas Quality of Service Standards was filed on 11/30/2018 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.
The Public Service Commission has initiated a rulemaking to incorporate by reference the 2018 edition of 49 CFR Parts 191, 192 and 199 into its rules for Safety of Gas Transportation by Pipeline.
Central Region Update
The Illinois Commerce Commission proposed amendments to its rules in two rulemakings published in August:
- to incorporate by reference 49 CFR Part 192 and Part 199 as well as portions of Part 191 that were in effect on July 1, 2018 to comply with the commission’s certification agreement with PHMSA.
- to update report filing requirements to remove obsolete forms and include electronic submissions.
[Comment period has closed; awaiting final adoption.]
The Iowa Utilities 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.
The Public Service Commission adopted amendments to the Michigan Gas Safety Standards to adopt by reference current federal regulations governing gas safety along with updating certain other technical standards contained in the rules. The amendments include two new rules: a master meter systems rule and a farm tap rule.
The Missouri Public Service Commission has adopted amendments to its Gas Utilities and Gas Safety Standards rules, effective 1/30/2019:
Amending 4 CSR 240-40.020 Incident, Annual, and Safety-Related Condition Reporting Requirements to address the 2016 amendment of 49 CFR part 191, editorial changes.
Amending 4 CSR 240-40.030 Safety Standards – Transportation of Gas by Pipeline to address amendments of 49 CFR part 192 promulgated between January 2016 and September 2017 and editorial changes.
Amending 4 CSR 240-40.080 Drug and Alcohol Testing to address any amendments of 49 CFR parts 40 and 199 promulgated between October 2015 and September 2017.
The Public Regulation Commission issued an order adopting final amended rules for Excavation Damage Prevention on 12/19/2018, with new rules effective on publication in the state Register in January. The amendments clarify that the rule applies to all underground facilities, with the exemption of those preempted by federal law; implement or revise particular procedures, reporting requirements, and deadlines used to prevent damage to underground utilities; and address procedures to be taken when damage occurs during pipeline excavation activities.
Two rulemakings are in progress:
The Gas And Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety rules (Chapter 20) are being amended [first notice of proposed rulemaking 12/20/2018]:
To update references to the CFR and the Oklahoma Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Act to the most recent version;
To require that pipeline operators notify the Pipeline Safety Dept. of change in ownership within 5 days;
To add a new subchapter “Obligations under the Oklahoma Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Act Subject to Commission Enforcement” with new permanent rules:
- Requiring underground facility operators to provide additional information to excavators (facility material size and type).
- Listing requirements for telephonic damage reporting.
- Requiring a written report of damages caused by excavation.
- Outlining the procedure for filing a complaint against an excavator for failing to comply with the Oklahoma Underground Facilities Damage Prevention Act.
The Gas Service Utilities rules (Chapter 45) are being amended [revised notice of proposed rulemaking 12/13/2018]:
For service installations that require open trenches, utilities must inspect or request inspection within 14 days;
Utilities must provide a notice of change in contact for PUD and CSD issues within 30 days of the change;
Utilities must provide a contact number in local phone directories for emergencies or service deficiencies;
Changes to customer service complaint response times and procedures;
Utilities are required to follow current PHMSA Pipeline Security Contingency Plan Guidance to develop a Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure Plan and report any security breaches that may affect customers to PUD Director.
The RRC has proposed amendments to its rules to permit comingling of production from separate reservoirs in certain circumstances.
[Proposed 11/13/18; comments were due by 1/2/19]
HB 226, pre-filed for the upcoming legislature, would reduce the charge for violations of the Public Utility Regulatory Act or Gas Utility Regulatory Act to Class A misdemeanor from Felony of the Third Degree.
The Corporation Commission issued a decision on 12/17/2018 adopting amendments to its Pipeline Safety Rules to update the rules with incorporation by reference to the most recent publication of federal safety requirements and update the address for AZ corporation commission for filing reports.
[Effective on publication in the state Administrative Register.]
AB1914 was signed by the Governor on 9/23/18 and effective 1/1/19. This bill, beginning July 1, 2020, authorizes an excavator to use power-operated or boring equipment, as determined by the board, prior to determining the exact location of subsurface installations, and requires the California Underground Facilities Safe Excavation Board, on or before July 1, 2020, to adopt regulations to implement this provision.
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 revised on 9/7/2018.]
The OSFM is also proposing to amend its regulations for fees charged to operators who are required to be members of the regional notification centers. The proposed regulation would ensure that the California Underground Facilities Safe Excavation Board has sufficient funding for its operational expenses and to exercise the powers and duties conferred upon it.
[No public hearing scheduled; written comments were due by 8/6/2018.]
The DRA/PUC has published its regulatory agenda for 2019, with the following rule changes to be considered in May:
- Incorporate changes required by PHMSA to include a regulatory process to investigate excavator damage to gas pipeline and codify process for investigations and civil penalties.
- Implement a utility’s transparent process to recover actual costs from property owners when the utility has extended its service to the property.
The PUC has adopted (per legislative review) amendments to its Utility Safety and Accident Reporting Rules to adopt by reference several national safety codes applicable to electric, telephone, and natural gas utilities and federal safety regulations applicable to natural gas and pipeline utilities. Rule 101 adopts the 2017 Edition of the National Electric Safety Code (“NESC”).
[Effective 3/22/2019 PLR]
In the 12/7/2018 Administrative Register, the Montana Department of Public Service Regulation proposed to amend its pipeline safety rules to incorporate by reference the most recent versions of 49 CFR Parts 191, 192, 193 and 199. No public hearing is anticipated, and final adoption is expected 1/14/2019.
The Public Utilities Commission has adopted amendments to its regulations regarding Nevada’s One Call Law. The amendments require an excavator to call emergency 911 services if the damage to the subsurface installation causes the release of certain gases or hazardous liquids. If an excavator provides such notice to emergency 911 services in relation to the release of a gas or hazardous liquid, the excavator is excused from providing notice to local public services agencies or providing additional notice to emergency 911 services if the release of the gas or hazardous liquid also presents an emergency.
Existing regulations require the excavator and the operator of a subsurface installation to submit a report in connection with an excavation or demolition that occurs on or after January 1, 2008, but before January 1, 2009. The adopted amendments eliminate this reporting requirement because it no longer applies to any excavation or demolition.
[Filed with Secretary of State 12/19/18 and effective immediately]
The Oregon Utility Notification Center rules were amended, effective 1/1/2019. The changes to the rules include:
- Definitions: clarifying definition of business day, adding a definition for “ticket life” to establish that a locate ticket is valid for 45 days and adding a definition and graphic for “tolerance zone” relating to the area surrounding the outside dimensions of an underground facility.
- Notices: extend the time for an excavator to give notice to the Oregon Utility Notification Center before beginning an excavation from 48 hours to two full business (not calendar) days.
- Marking: clarifying within what area locatable facilities must be marked; adding an exception to the two full business day rule when a documented agreement exists between the operator and the excavator for scheduled marking exceeding the required two full business days; updating the identifying marking color information to be consistent with the APWA; add a provision about contacting the Oregon Utility Notification Center to mark again ongoing excavations exceeding the 45-day ticket life;
- Locating: addition of language to address large project design locates
- Excavation damage prevention: adding a clarifying provision about horizontal directional drilling visual monitoring of the drill head and back reamer within the tolerance zone; clarifying where hand tools and non-invasive methods must be used to excavate; adding language that falls within federal guidelines for compliance when there is damage to any natural gas or other hazardous liquid pipeline
HB 1006 has been pre-filed for the upcoming legislative session. This bill relates to adopting new requirements for locating underground facilities, including positive response, minimum marking standards, adopting a new process for coordinating large projects, and requiring new and replacement facilities to be locatable.
The Public Service Commission rules are being amended to adopt by reference current versions of codes and standards.
[Proposed rules filed 12/3/2018]
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