State Pipeline Safety Regulation Updates – August, 2019

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

Maine

LD 1720 Signed by the Governor on June 17 requires excavators to call 9-1-1 if contact with or damage to an underground pipe or another underground facility results in the escape of any natural gas or other hazardous substance or material regulated by PHMSA.
[Effective 9/19/2019]

Massachusetts

H4857 (2018) signed into law on August 8, 2018 requires gas companies to file an annual report with the department of lost and unaccounted-for gas, effective January 1, 2020.

In response to the September 2018 Merrimack Valley gas explosions a group of new bills was introduced in the Massachusetts legislature. The bills below are representative of some of the major themes addressed in the proposed legislation:

SD2160 An Act Relative to Gas Leaks and Infrastructure outlines proposed new regulations for Emergency response (operators to immediately inform fire department and chief law enforcement officers, all departments must generate a report after each event). Operators would be required to provide grade 2 and 3 monthly leak reporting to fire department, conduct public way site repair after project and subsequent maintenance of site for 5 years. The DPU would be required to review the number of pipeline inspectors at least annually. Operator penalties for failure to comply include denial of rate increase and/or financial penalties.

SD2153 An Act to Promote Gas Safety
Boards and committees: 
Establishes an energy infrastructure oversight board, to be appointed by the governor to make recommendations with respect to gas safety, oversight and inspection of gas facilities, employment of inspectors and engineers to oversee pipeline construction and maintenance, and emergency response protocols for gas-related incidents. Annual reports from the committee will be presented to the governor and Senate House committees on ways and means. Also creates a commission to review the state’s gas infrastructure and provide a report to the general court by January 1, 2020.
Cooperative reporting with neighboring states:
Establish a notification system to provide and receive information regarding incidents.
Leaks reported by public:
response to be timely, all leak reports from customers will be logged in a publicly-accessible database.
LNG safety:
All proposals for substantial construction, renovation, repair or expansion for facilities that store, vaporize or produce liquefied natural gas are subject to DPU review, must include an analysis of the proposal’s impact on the safety of the facility and the distribution system during and after construction and may be further reviewed by energy facilities siting board and Mass environmental policy act office.
More pipeline engineers:
The department shall employ pipeline engineers to oversee construction on or adjacent to distribution company pipelines, ensure compliance with all relevant statutory and regulatory requirements and investigate complaints. All pipeline engineers shall receive the necessary training and qualification to perform field duties, as determined by the department, not later than 6 months after employment. The department shall employ not less than 1 pipeline engineer for every 100 miles of pipeline owned by a distribution or one pipeline engineer for every 2,000 customers, whichever is greater.
Regulators:
The department of public utilities shall promulgate regulations establishing requirements for the maintenance and security of gas regulators, including, but not limited to, service quality metrics. The department shall implement these regulations not later than January 1, 2021

HD 1097 Act for field safety in gas infrastructure
Maps and records:
DPU to promulgate regulations by 1/1/2021 establishing requirements for the maintenance, timely updating, accuracy, and security of gas LDC maps and records. Each LDC shall report each disruption in its ability to provide electronic data, including but not limited to, maps and records relevant to inspections, maintenance, repairs, and construction to its in-house workforce and contractors lasting more than 30 minutes – disruptions will be incorporated as a metric in the DPU’s service quality indicators for LDCs.
In addition:

  • Each LDC shall maintain a central control room within its service territory with trained staff sufficient to monitor its pipeline and respond to fluctuations in pressurization, reportable incidents, and infrastructure failures.
  • Outlines system of uniform natural gas leaks classification/reporting for all gas companies.
  • Leak detection and repair of leaks prior to projects on public way by municipalities, state or LDC; ensure safety valves function
  • Leaks within school zone are priority
  • Inside meter safety

Additional bills that address improving excavation safety were also introduced.

New York

The Public Service Commission has opened rulemaking dockets (19-G-018119-G-0182) to update its rules to ensure conformance with 49 CFR Part 192 and Part 199, Transportation of Natural and Other Gas by Pipeline.

Ohio

The Ohio PUC is conducting a 5-year review of its Gas Pipeline Safety rules. Notice inviting comments on proposed amendments was filed on August 14, 2019. The amendments would make the following changes:

  • require each operator to have a plan for abandoning inactive service lines
  • add requirements for the reevaluation of repaired or reclassified leaks would apply to below grade hazardous leaks
  • require gas gathering/processing plant pipeline operators to provide total mileage of gas gathering piping operated in Ohio and counties of operation in the 24-hour contact report
  • reduce the number of reports required for important additions to intrastate gas pipeline facilities

Comments are due by September 13, 2019.

Pennsylvania

The following bills were introduced and referred to the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure committee on 2/7/2019:

SB263 would add a new section “Pipeline Safety Valves” requiring that all facilities of a public utility engaged in the transmission of gas or hazardous liquids placed into service after the effective date of this section to have automatic or remote controlled shutoff valves installed. Annual testing of these valves would be required.

SB258 would require utilities to meet with local emergency management organizations twice per year, and outlines the information that operators would be required to transmit. (First consideration in Senate on 6/19/2019.)

SB 260 outlines types of information that pipeline operators must provide to schools, if requested, that fall within 1000 ft of PUC-jurisdictional hazardous liquids and natural gas pipelines, including how to respond to a leak or product release. (Similar to HB 733 introduced on 3/18/19, now in House Consumer Affairs committee.)

The following bill was introduced and referred to the Environmental Resources and Energy committee on 2/26/2019:

SB 283 would replace the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission with the Department of Transportation of the Commonwealth; and providing for Federal delegation. The bill would centralize pipeline safety inspection within the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Pennsylvania’s lateral regulatory agency to PHMSA. Second, PennDOT would be required to make application to the federal government for designation as an Interstate Agent in the inspection of interstate pipelines traversing Pennsylvania.

A group of bills were introduced on 3/25/19 as part of a “Pipeline Safety Package” and are currently in the House Consumer Affairs committee.

HB 886 would require a public utility operating a pipeline in a high consequence area to install automatic or remote shutoff valves within 100 feet of each municipal boundary crossed by the facility and within 100 feet of the facility’s entry and exist of each high consequence area. A public utility is required to test the reliability of shutoff valves annually and provide the results of these tests to each municipality where a shutoff valve is located.

HB 887 would amend the Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Act to require General Assembly approval, by concurrent resolution, prior to the construction or development of any pipeline that traverses three or more counties.

HB 888 would amend the Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Act to require that, following an incident that results in a shutdown of a pipeline, the operator must inspect the entirety of the pipeline before resuming operations. Under federal regulations, a pipeline operator may voluntarily or involuntarily, by action of the Public Utility Commission, suspend operations of a pipeline when a leak occurs that results in a death or personal injury requiring hospitalization, property damage of $50,000 or more, loss of three million cubic feet or more of product, or any other event deemed significant in the judgment of the operator.

HB 889 would amend the Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Act to require a pipeline operator, upon written request, to release any safety assessment studies or data that were conducted or collected about their facilities.

HB 890 would require a public utility with facilities transporting natural gas or natural gas liquids to meet with the county emergency coordinators along the pipeline route to identify any high consequence areas and the potential impact radius around the pipeline. The public utility must also share its current emergency operating procedures with the emergency coordinators.

Washington, D.C.

City Council bill B23-0117, now in the Committee on Business and Economic Development and scheduled for a public hearing on May 13, would broaden enforcement authority of underground facilities, such as gas and power lines to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs administratively. Currently, enforcement authority is limited to the District of Columbia Superior Court. This bill also:

  • Amends the definition of excavation to include trenchless technology
  • Requires that utilities respond to request from One-Call within 48 hours
  • Requires that a project provide adequate protection, including supports as needed, to utility operator workers when they enter the immediate vicinity of the facility.
  • Eliminates an exception for small excavation projects that were contained within the limits of the original excavation and did not exceed twelve inches in depth.
  • Increases the civil penalty for subsequent violations from $3,500 to $5,000 for a second offense and from $5,000 to $10,000 for a third or subsequent offense. As an alternative to these civil penalties, the bill authorizes the Mayor to issue civil fines and penalties under the Civil Infraction Act
  • Authorizes the Mayor to implement educational programs, collect data, and require reporting by entities subject to the Act in order to develop an effective damage prevention program.

A public hearing was held on May 13 and the bill is currently under council review.

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.

Southern Region Update

Alabama

SB315 was signed into law and becomes effective on January 1, 2020. It creates the 17-member Underground Damage Prevention Authority to enforce the notification requirement penalties provisions of the “One-Call Notification System”;  (1) for a first violation, a fine not to exceed $500; (2) for a second violation, a fine not to exceed $1,000; (3) for a third and subsequent violations, a fine not to exceed $4,000; and (4) for a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 for a violation that is a result of gross negligence. This bill requires the Public Service Commission (PSC) to provide administrative support to the Authority.

Florida

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has completed its rulemaking to update its LP gas rules to reflect the significant changes were made to Chapter 527, Florida Statutes during the 2018 legislative session. The rules were amended to:

  • Repeal redundant, unnecessary rules;
  • Update incorporated forms and standard references, and eliminate forms that are no longer necessary;
  • Clarify vague definitions;
  • Clarify that department inspectors will no longer use a “Red Tag” to prohibit use, but Stop Use Orders consistent with other bureau programs;
  • Clarify the type of leak survey required for underground tanks, remove unnecessary common use definition and remove exemptions for certain underground tanks defined by 49 CFR;
  • Add required user notification after a dealer repairs or alters a LP gas system in case indoor appliances have been affected posing a safety hazard;
  • Update CEU training requirements;
  • Update penalty rules to be consistent with department standard and add notice of noncompliance in lieu of warning letter to reduce administrative procedures; and
  • update resolution, settlement and remedies rules to meet current department standard.

The first round of amendments was effective July 10, 2019, and the second round of amendments are effective August 20, 2019.

North Carolina

H872 signed by the Governor on August 1, 2019 and effective on October 1, 2019, includes the following provisions:

  • Modifies the information an operator must provide to excavators designating the location of underground facilities in the area of a proposed excavation to require operators to mark:
    • The dimension of an underground facility every 50 feet, rather than every 25 feet, in certain circumstances.
    • The operator’s identity in an area where the proposed excavation or demolition is to occur. At a minimum, the operator’s identity must be marked at the beginning point, at intervals of 200 linear feet, and at the end point of the proposed excavation or demolition.
  • Modifies the minimum requirements for the notice that an excavator must provide to the Notification Center concerning the location of a proposed excavation or demolition, by identifying:
    • A single parcel that may exceed 1/4 mile in linear length, by a single address.
    • The lesser of five adjoining parcels, not to exceed 1/4 mile in linear length or an area not to exceed 1/4 mile in linear length, by addresses.
  • Prohibits an excavator from using mechanized equipment within 24 inches of a facility that is a highly volatile liquid pipeline system (in addition to existing prohibitions on gas, oil, and petroleum transmission lines).
  • Modifies the exemption concerning routine maintenance in a right-of-way, requiring that persons doing such maintenance must be on “permanent payroll” of the entity performing the maintenance, and not a contractor acting behalf of such an entity.
  • Adds an exemption for pavement milling and resurfacing (which had previously been included in the exemption for maintenance activities).
  • Modifies the notice provision for emergency excavation or demolition to require written notice to the Notification Center as soon as practicable.
  • Adds a new requirement that the Board approve training courses and the sponsors of those training courses in connection with actions or penalty the Board may impose for a violation.

The bill also authorizes the Board to impose a fee on operators in order to fund the activities and operations of the Board in reviewing reports of alleged violations of this Article. The fee is based on the jurisdictional revenues of an operator, and will be set at a rate that the total proceeds of all fees collected will not exceed $200,000 annually to fund the activities and operations of the Board.

Central Region Update

Iowa

The Board is engaged in the following additional 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.

Michigan

The MPSC is proposing to adopt amendments to its rules governing gas safety to adopt by reference current federal regulations and standards and to define record retention periods.
[Request for rulemaking approved June 24, 2019.]

Missouri

After adoption as emergency rules in December 2018 and then further amended, the federal pipeline safety laws and standards for liquefied natural gas facilities in 49 CFR Part 193 have been adopted as permanent commission rules in a new section “Safety Standards – Liquefied Natural Gas Facilities” effective July 30, 2019.

Nebraska

The state’s Fire Marshall has amended its rules for pipeline safety and one-call notification center to adopt Federal regulations in 49 CFR (Parts 191, 192, 193, 199 and adding 196) in effect as of April 1, 2019. The new rules change the time limit for reporting incidents to 1 hour; require operators to provide documents in digital format: O&M, Emergency Plan, Damage Prevention program (to be submitted annually); and operation maps for distribution and transmission systems (to be submitted every 5 years).
In addition, the new regulations contain updated definitions and best practices for use in the One Call System, and updates to the composition, qualifications, appointment and retention of the One Call Board of Directors.
[Amended rules were adopted effective August 13, 2019.]

LB 462 was approved by the Governor on 5/31/2019 and becomes effective on September 1, 2019. This bill amends the One-Call Notification System Act to add notification requirements, provides additional authority and duties for the One-Call Board of Directors and the State Fire Marshal, creates a dispute resolution board, and requires utility locators to be licensed by the SFM.

Southwest Region Update

Louisiana

SB 82 has been signed by the Governor and becomes effective on 8/1/209. This bill:

  • provides if the operator and excavator cannot agree to extend the time and the excavation or demolition activity could impact a pipeline located on or in water, upon written request by the operator, the commissioner of conservation may delay the mark-by time prior to the commencement of any excavation or demolition activity in order to allow for the accurate marking of such pipeline.
  • provides that the commissioner of conservation may extend the time to complete the excavation or demolition activity if such activity could impact a pipeline located on or in water.
  • provides that except as provided in present law, no parish, municipal, local, or state governing authority may enact any ordinance or promulgate any rules or regulations which are in conflict with the provisions of present law.

Oklahoma

Two rulemakings were concluded with permanent final adoptions of the following rules:

The Gas And Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety rules (Chapter 20) were amended and become effective 7/25/2019:

  • 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:
  1. Requiring underground facility operators to provide additional information to excavators (facility material size and type).
  2. Listing requirements for telephonic damage reporting.
  3. Requiring a written report of damages caused by excavation.
  4. 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) were amended and become effective 8/1/2019:

  • 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.

SB1008/HB2097 amends the definition for “excavate” includes activities w/in public or private right-of-way; modifies timeline requiring operator to locate and mark underground facilities (from 48 hours after receipt of demolition notice to prior to the date work is scheduled to begin).
[Approved by the Governor 4/24/2019, effective 11/1/2019]

Texas

HB 864 was signed by the Governor on 6/14/2019 and becomes effective on 9/1/2019. This bill adds a new code section regarding pipeline incident reporting and records. It defines “incident” and directs the RRC to promulgate rules by December 31, 2019 to require an operator to notify the commission within 1 hour of the confirmed discovery of an incident to provide contact information, incident location and any other known pertinent information.

The RRC has offered drafts of amendments to its rules (Ch. 3Ch. 8), revised after the Commission’s public workshop. The comment deadline was extended to August 12, 2019. The rule drafts are working drafts that have not been finalized and have not been submitted to the Texas Register for publication for public comment.
The draft rules include amendments regarding:

  • Class 1 and rural gathering (gas and hazardous liquid) lines (§8.110. Gathering Pipelines);
  • implementation of HB 864and HB866 requirements;
  • reductions to late fees for certain pipeline operators;
  • amendments to the pipeline permits rule; and
  • clean-up amendments to Chapter 8.

These amendments relate to the intrastate natural gas gathering pipelines located in Class 1 locations and not regulated by 49 CFR 192.8.  Activities to be required for these applicable pipelines:

  • Corrosion control
  • Damage Prevention
  • Public Awareness
  • Establish MAOP
  • Install & maintain line markers
  • Conduct leakage surveys using leak detection equipment & promptly repair hazardous leaks
  • Reporting

In addition, Class 1 onshore natural gas gathering lines greater than 12.75 inches in diameter with a MAOP that produces a hoop stress of 20 percent or more of SMYS must comply with the requirements of 49 CFR §192 applicable to transmission lines, except for integrity management and ability to run ILI/smart pig.

This same section applies to those intrastate hazardous liquids and carbon dioxide gathering pipelines located in a rural location as defined by 49 CFR §195.2 and not regulated by 49 CFR §195.1, §195.11, or §8.1. These lines must comply with the following requirements:

  • Corrosion control
  • Damage Prevention
  • Public Awareness
  • Establish MOP
  • Install and maintain line markers
  • ROW inspections & promptly repair hazardous leaks
  • Reporting

Western Region Update

California

The OSFM is proposing to develop new rules for the California Underground Facilities Safe Excavation Board – Investigations and Enforcement

  • This rulemaking action implements, interprets, clarifies, and makes specific investigation of possible violations and enforcement of article 2, chapter 3.1, division 5, of title 1 of the Government Code (“Dig Safe Law”), and onsite meeting and agreement requirements for areas of continual excavation near high priority subsurface installations.
  • The proposed regulations will require members of regional notification centers to maintain valid and current contact information with the appropriate regional notification center; require regional notification centers to provide updated contact information for their members to the Board upon request; require excavators to notify the appropriate regional notification center of certain types of damages to subsurface installations; require regional notification centers to transmit the damage notifications to the Board; establish investigation and enforcement processes, including types of sanctions, of the Dig Safe Law on excavators and operators; and establish requirements for excavators and operators for onsite meetings and agreements for areas of continual excavation near high priority subsurface installations.

[Comment period concluded on 7/2/2019]

The OSFM’s ongoing rulemaking to develop regulations as required by legislation that was passed after the 2015 Santa Barbara oil spill – AB 864 (2015) – continues. These regulations will become a new Article “Requirements For New Or Replacement Pipeline Near Environmentally and Ecologically Sensitive Areas In The Coastal Zone.”
Proposed rules were updated on Jan 17, 2019 after multiple workshops in 2017 and 2018. A notice of proposed rulemaking was issued on 2/5/2019. Public hearings were held thru April, with the end of the comment period April 2, 2019.

The Public Utilities Commission issued a proposed decision on 7/5/2019 to conclude its rulemaking regarding rules for Gas Leak Abatement.
In June 2018, Decision D1706015 approved the program at its current stage, as well as changes to General Order 112F and extended the statutory deadline. The proposed decision reiterates that best practices outlined in the 2017 decision are enforceable and will not be added to an existing or new GO at this time.
The decision proposes to close the rulemaking. It notes that further refinements could be made to Best Practices and to GO 112-F during the evaluation of the program in 2021 to reflect  leak survey cycles (Section 143.1 Distribution and Transmission Leakage Surveys and Procedures); and Leak Classification and Action Criteria Grade Definition of Priority of Leak Repair. The commission will also revisit adding the best practices to 112-F. Alternatively, all climate change requirements that are not safety driven procedures, could be incorporated into a separate GO for the sake of clarity.
The proposed decision will be included in a future Commission hearing for approval, 8/15/19 at the earliest.

SB169 this bill would authorize the State Fire Marshal to:

  • require the owner or operator of a pipeline to establish and maintain records, make reports, and provide any information that the State Fire Marshal reasonably requires, to create an inventory of pipelines that will be available to the public.
  • enter operator’s facility and inspect records.
  • disclose records, reports, or other information required to be maintained to an officer, employee, or authorized representative of the state or the United States for purposes of carrying out the requirements of the act or the federal Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Act, or when relevant to a proceeding pursuant to the act.

Current code excludes from the definition of pipeline a pipeline for the transportation of crude oil that operates by gravity or at a stress level of 20 percent or less of the specified minimum yield strength of the pipe. This bill would eliminate that exclusion.
This section will become operative only upon receipt of federal block grant funds as determined by the State Fire Marshal.
[7/10/2019 Failed passage, granted reconsideration in Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization.]

AB1166 The regional notification center shall report the issuance of tickets to the Public Utilities Commission, and the Public Utilities Commission shall retain these records for five or more years.
[8/12/2019 – in Assembly Committee on Appropriations.]

SB463 Would require an operator of a gas storage well to provide the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) a complete chemical inventory of specified materials that may be emitted from a gas storage well. Requires, on or before July 1, 2021, DOGGR in response to the independent root cause analysis of the 2015 Aliso Canyon gas leak, to review and revise, as applicable, its natural gas storage well policy and regulations. This includes regulations for cathodic protection of well casings, requirements for well control plans that include flow rate and potential flow rate calculations, and Requirements for reporting and investigating leaks and other pressure equipment integrity incidents that present a risk of leaks.
[8/14/2019 – in Assembly Committee on Appropriations.]

Idaho

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will conduct a public meeting August 20, 2019 to conduct a review of its rules and receive public input. Included in this review are:

  • Safety and Accident Reporting Rules for Utilities Regulated by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission
  • Gas Service Rules

Washington

The WTUC has adopted proposed amendments to make commission rules consistent with current published versions of federal rules and reflect the most current versions of the national safety standards. New rules are effective August 3, 2019..

 


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State Pipeline Safety Regulation Updates – July 14, 2019

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

Maine

LD 1720 Signed by the Governor on June 17 requires excavators to call 9-1-1 if contact with or damage to an underground pipe or another underground facility results in the escape of any natural gas or other hazardous substance or material regulated by PHMSA.
[Effective 9/19/2019]

Massachusetts

In response to the September 2018 Merrimack Valley gas explosions a group of new bills was introduced in the Massachusetts legislature. The bills below are representative of some of the major themes addressed in the proposed legislation:

SD2160 An Act Relative to Gas Leaks and Infrastructure outlines proposed new regulations for Emergency response (operators to immediately inform fire department and chief law enforcement officers, all departments must generate a report after each event). Operators would be required to provide grade 2 and 3 monthly leak reporting to fire department, conduct public way site repair after project and subsequent maintenance of site for 5 years. The DPU would be required to review the number of pipeline inspectors at least annually. Operator penalties for failure to comply include denial of rate increase and/or financial penalties.

SD2153 An Act to Promote Gas Safety
Boards and committees: 
Establishes an energy infrastructure oversight board, to be appointed by the governor to make recommendations with respect to gas safety, oversight and inspection of gas facilities, employment of inspectors and engineers to oversee pipeline construction and maintenance, and emergency response protocols for gas-related incidents. Annual reports from the committee will be presented to the governor and Senate House committees on ways and means. Also creates a commission to review the state’s gas infrastructure and provide a report to the general court by January 1, 2020.
Cooperative reporting with neighboring states:
Establish a notification system to provide and receive information regarding incidents.
Leaks reported by public:
response to be timely, all leak reports from customers will be logged in a publicly-accessible database.
LNG safety:
All proposals for substantial construction, renovation, repair or expansion for facilities that store, vaporize or produce liquefied natural gas are subject to DPU review, must include an analysis of the proposal’s impact on the safety of the facility and the distribution system during and after construction and may be further reviewed by energy facilities siting board and Mass environmental policy act office.
More pipeline engineers:
The department shall employ pipeline engineers to oversee construction on or adjacent to distribution company pipelines, ensure compliance with all relevant statutory and regulatory requirements and investigate complaints. All pipeline engineers shall receive the necessary training and qualification to perform field duties, as determined by the department, not later than 6 months after employment. The department shall employ not less than 1 pipeline engineer for every 100 miles of pipeline owned by a distribution or one pipeline engineer for every 2,000 customers, whichever is greater.
Regulators:
The department of public utilities shall promulgate regulations establishing requirements for the maintenance and security of gas regulators, including, but not limited to, service quality metrics. The department shall implement these regulations not later than January 1, 2021

HD 1097 Act for field safety in gas infrastructure
Maps and records:
DPU to promulgate regulations by 1/1/2021 establishing requirements for the maintenance, timely updating, accuracy, and security of gas LDC maps and records. Each LDC shall report each disruption in its ability to provide electronic data, including but not limited to, maps and records relevant to inspections, maintenance, repairs, and construction to its in-house workforce and contractors lasting more than 30 minutes – disruptions will be incorporated as a metric in the DPU’s service quality indicators for LDCs.
In addition:

  • Each LDC shall maintain a central control room within its service territory with trained staff sufficient to monitor its pipeline and respond to fluctuations in pressurization, reportable incidents, and infrastructure failures.
  • Outlines system of uniform natural gas leaks classification/reporting for all gas companies.
  • Leak detection and repair of leaks prior to projects on public way by municipalities, state or LDC; ensure safety valves function
  • Leaks within school zone are priority
  • Inside meter safety

Additional bills that address improving excavation safety were also introduced.

New York

The Public Service Commission has opened rulemaking dockets (19-G-018119-G-0182) to update its rules to ensure conformance with 49 CFR Part 192 and Part 199, Transportation of Natural and Other Gas by Pipeline.

Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission has amended its rules Chapter 56 Standards and Billing Practices for Residential Utility Service, effective June 2, 2019. The rules were updated to conform with Chapter 14 of the Public Utility Code (66 Pa.C.S. §§ 1401—1419), Responsible Utility Customer Protection. Those regulations were enacted in 2014, and supersede some of these rules.

In November 2018 the Commission issued a waiver of its rules regarding Standards for changing a customer’s natural gas service in sections 59.93 and 59.94. The waiver maintains the five day waiting period during which an NGS switch request may be canceled before the switch takes place. The Commission proposed to extend the waiver through the end of October 2021.

The following bills were introduced and referred to the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure committee on 2/7/2019:

SB263 would add a new section “Pipeline Safety Valves” requiring that all facilities of a public utility engaged in the transmission of gas or hazardous liquids placed into service after the effective date of this section to have automatic or remote controlled shutoff valves installed. Annual testing of these valves would be required.

SB258 would require utilities to meet with local emergency management organizations twice per year, and outlines the information that operators would be required to transmit. (First consideration in Senate on 6/19/2019.)

SB 260 outlines types of information that pipeline operators must provide to schools, if requested, that fall within 1000 ft of PUC-jurisdictional hazardous liquids and natural gas pipelines, including how to respond to a leak or product release. (Similar to HB 733 introduced on 3/18/19, now in House Consumer Affairs committee.)

The following bill was introduced and referred to the Environmental Resources and Energy committee on 2/26/2019:

SB 283 would replace the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission with the Department of Transportation of the Commonwealth; and providing for Federal delegation. The bill would centralize pipeline safety inspection within the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Pennsylvania’s lateral regulatory agency to PHMSA. Second, PennDOT would be required to make application to the federal government for designation as an Interstate Agent in the inspection of interstate pipelines traversing Pennsylvania.

A group of bills were introduced on 3/25/19 as part of a “Pipeline Safety Package” and are currently in the House Consumer Affairs committee.

HB 886 would require a public utility operating a pipeline in a high consequence area to install automatic or remote shutoff valves within 100 feet of each municipal boundary crossed by the facility and within 100 feet of the facility’s entry and exist of each high consequence area. A public utility is required to test the reliability of shutoff valves annually and provide the results of these tests to each municipality where a shutoff valve is located.

HB 887 would amend the Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Act to require General Assembly approval, by concurrent resolution, prior to the construction or development of any pipeline that traverses three or more counties.

HB 888 would amend the Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Act to require that, following an incident that results in a shutdown of a pipeline, the operator must inspect the entirety of the pipeline before resuming operations. Under federal regulations, a pipeline operator may voluntarily or involuntarily, by action of the Public Utility Commission, suspend operations of a pipeline when a leak occurs that results in a death or personal injury requiring hospitalization, property damage of $50,000 or more, loss of three million cubic feet or more of product, or any other event deemed significant in the judgment of the operator.

HB 889 would amend the Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Act to require a pipeline operator, upon written request, to release any safety assessment studies or data that were conducted or collected about their facilities.

HB 890 would require a public utility with facilities transporting natural gas or natural gas liquids to meet with the county emergency coordinators along the pipeline route to identify any high consequence areas and the potential impact radius around the pipeline. The public utility must also share its current emergency operating procedures with the emergency coordinators.

Washington, D.C.

City Council bill B23-0117, now in the Committee on Business and Economic Development and scheduled for a public hearing on May 13, would broaden enforcement authority of underground facilities, such as gas and power lines to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs administratively. Currently, enforcement authority is limited to the District of Columbia Superior Court. This bill also:

  • Amends the definition of excavation to include trenchless technology
  • Requires that utilities respond to request from One-Call within 48 hours
  • Requires that a project provide adequate protection, including supports as needed, to utility operator workers when they enter the immediate vicinity of the facility.
  • Eliminates an exception for small excavation projects that were contained within the limits of the original excavation and did not exceed twelve inches in depth.
  • Increases the civil penalty for subsequent violations from $3,500 to $5,000 for a second offense and from $5,000 to $10,000 for a third or subsequent offense. As an alternative to these civil penalties, the bill authorizes the Mayor to issue civil fines and penalties under the Civil Infraction Act
  • Authorizes the Mayor to implement educational programs, collect data, and require reporting by entities subject to the Act in order to develop an effective damage prevention program.

A public hearing was held on May 13 and the bill is currently under council review.

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.

Southern Region Update

Alabama

SB315 was signed into law and becomes effective on January 1, 2020. It creates the 17-member Underground Damage Prevention Authority to enforce the notification requirement penalties provisions of the “One-Call Notification System”;  (1) for a first violation, a fine not to exceed $500; (2) for a second violation, a fine not to exceed $1,000; (3) for a third and subsequent violations, a fine not to exceed $4,000; and (4) for a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 for a violation that is a result of gross negligence. This bill requires the Public Service Commission (PSC) to provide administrative support to the Authority.

Florida

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has completed the first phase of a rulemaking to update its LP gas rules to reflect the significant changes were made to Chapter 527, Florida Statutes during the 2018 legislative session. The rules are being amended to:

  • Repeal redundant, unnecessary rules;
  • Update incorporated forms and standard references, and eliminate forms that are no longer necessary;
  • Clarify vague definitions;
  • Clarify that department inspectors will no longer use a “Red Tag” to prohibit use, but Stop Use Orders consistent with other bureau programs;
  • Clarify the type of leak survey required for underground tanks, remove unnecessary common use definition and remove exemptions for certain underground tanks defined by 49 CFR;
  • Add required user notification after a dealer repairs or alters a LP gas system in case indoor appliances have been affected posing a safety hazard;
  • Update CEU training requirements;
  • Update penalty rules to be consistent with department standard and add notice of noncompliance in lieu of warning letter to reduce administrative procedures; and
  • update resolution, settlement and remedies rules to meet current department standard.

The first round of rules amended are effective July 10, 2019.

The Public Service Commission has amended to its rules to incorporate by reference the 2018 edition of 49 CFR Parts 191, 192 and 199, effective July 10, 2019.

North Carolina

H872 has the following provisions:

  • Modifies the information an operator must provide to excavators designating the location of underground facilities in the area of a proposed excavation to require operators to mark:
    • The dimension of an underground facility every 50 feet, rather than every 25 feet, in certain circumstances.
    • The operator’s identity in an area where the proposed excavation or demolition is to occur. At a minimum, the operator’s identity must be marked at the beginning point, at intervals of 200 linear feet, and at the end point of the proposed excavation or demolition.
  • Modifies the minimum requirements for the notice that an excavator must provide to the Notification Center concerning the location of a proposed excavation or demolition, by identifying:
    • A single parcel that may exceed 1/4 mile in linear length, by a single address.
    • The lesser of five adjoining parcels, not to exceed 1/4 mile in linear length or an area not to exceed 1/4 mile in linear length, by addresses.
  • Prohibits an excavator from using mechanized equipment within 24 inches of a facility that is a highly volatile liquid pipeline system (in addition to existing prohibitions on gas, oil, and petroleum transmission lines).
  • Modifies the exemption concerning routine maintenance in a right-of-way, requiring that persons doing such maintenance must be on “permanent payroll” of the entity performing the maintenance, and not a contractor acting behalf of such an entity.
  • Adds an exemption for pavement milling and resurfacing (which had previously been included in the exemption for maintenance activities).
  • Modifies the notice provision for emergency excavation or demolition to require written notice to the Notification Center as soon as practicable.
  • Adds a new requirement that the Board approve training courses and the sponsors of those training courses in connection with actions or penalty the Board may impose for a violation.

The bill would also authorize the Board to impose a fee on operators in order to fund the activities and operations of the Board in reviewing reports of alleged violations of this Article. The fee would be based on the jurisdictional revenues of an operator, and must be set at a rate that the total proceeds of all fees collected would not exceed $200,000 annually to fund the activities and operations of the Board.
[Placed on Senate calendar for July 15 after favorable reports from the Finance committee and the Rules committee.]

Central Region Update

Iowa

The Board is engaged in the following additional 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.

Michigan

The MPSC is proposing to adopt amendments to its rules governing gas safety to adopt by reference current federal regulations and standards and to define record retention periods.

Missouri

After adoption as emergency rules in December 2018 and then further amended, the federal pipeline safety laws and standards for liquefied natural gas facilities in 49 CFR Part 193 have been adopted as permanent commission rules in a new section “Safety Standards – Liquefied Natural Gas Facilities” effective July 30, 2019.

Nebraska

The state’s Fire Marshall is proposing to amend its rules for pipeline safety and one-call notification center to adopt Federal regulations in 49 CFR (Parts 191, 192, 193, 199 and adding 196) in effect as of April 1, 2019. The proposal changes the time limit for reporting incidents to 1 hour; requires operators to provide documents in digital format: O&M, Emergency Plan, Damage Prevention program (to be submitted annually); and operation maps for distribution and transmission systems (to be submitted every 5 years).
In addition, the proposed regulations contain updated definitions and best practices for use in the One Call System, and updates to the composition, qualifications, appointment and retention of the One Call Board of Directors.
[Amended rules were sent to the state’s Attorney General for a decision on 6/24/2019.]

LB 462 was approved by the Governor on 5/31/2019 and becomes effective in 90 days. amend the One-Call Notification System Act to add notification requirements, provides additional authority and duties for the One-Call Board of Directors and the State Fire Marshal, creates a dispute resolution board, and requires utility locators to be licensed by the SFM.

South Dakota

SB18 was signed by the Governor on 3/7/2019, and became effective on 7/1/2019. The new law doubles South Dakota’s maximum civil penalty for some pipeline safety violations to $2 million.

HB1024 (2018, effective 7/1/2019) 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

Louisiana

SB 82 has been signed by the Governor and becomes effective on 8/1/209. This bill:

  • provides if the operator and excavator cannot agree to extend the time and the excavation or demolition activity could impact a pipeline located on or in water, upon written request by the operator, the commissioner of conservation may delay the mark-by time prior to the commencement of any excavation or demolition activity in order to allow for the accurate marking of such pipeline.
  • provides that the commissioner of conservation may extend the time to complete the excavation or demolition activity if such activity could impact a pipeline located on or in water.
  • provides that except as provided in present law, no parish, municipal, local, or state governing authority may enact any ordinance or promulgate any rules or regulations which are in conflict with the provisions of present law.

Oklahoma

Two rulemakings were concluded with permanent final adoptions of the following rules:

The Gas And Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety rules (Chapter 20) were amended and become effective 7/25/2019:

  • 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:
  1. Requiring underground facility operators to provide additional information to excavators (facility material size and type).
  2. Listing requirements for telephonic damage reporting.
  3. Requiring a written report of damages caused by excavation.
  4. 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) were amended and become effective 8/1/2019:

  • 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.

SB1008/HB2097 amends definition for “excavate” includes activities w/in public or private right-of-way; modifies timeline requiring operator to locate and mark underground facilities (from 48 hours after receipt of demolition notice to prior to the date work is scheduled to begin).
[Approved by the Governor 4/24/2019, effective 11/1/2019]

Texas

HB 864 was signed by the Governor on 6/14/2019 and becomes effective on 9/1/2019. This bill adds a new code section regarding pipeline incident reporting and records. It defines “incident” and directs the RRC to promulgate rules by December 31, 2019 to require an operator to notify the commission within 1 hour of the confirmed discovery of an incident to provide contact information, incident location and any other known pertinent information.

The RRC has offered drafts of amendments (Ch. 3Ch. 8) to its rules for informal comment, with a comment deadline of 7/31/2019. The rule drafts are working drafts that have not been finalized and have not been submitted to the Texas Register for publication for public comment.z
The draft rules include amendments regarding:

  • Class 1 and rural gathering (gas and hazardous liquid) lines (§8.110. Gathering Pipelines);
  • implementation of HB 864and HB866 requirements;
  • reductions to late fees for certain pipeline operators;
  • amendments to the pipeline permits rule; and
  • clean-up amendments to Chapter 8.

These amendments relate to the intrastate natural gas gathering pipelines located in Class 1 locations and not regulated by 49 CFR 192.8.  Activities to be required for these applicable pipelines:

  • Corrosion control
  • Damage Prevention
  • Public Awareness
  • Establish MAOP
  • Install & maintain line markers
  • Conduct leakage surveys using leak detection equipment & promptly repair hazardous leaks
  • Reporting

In addition, Class 1 onshore natural gas gathering lines greater than 12.75 inches in diameter with a MAOP that produces a hoop stress of 20 percent or more of SMYS must comply with the requirements of 49 CFR §192 applicable to transmission lines, except for integrity management and ability to run ILI/smart pig.

This same section applies to those intrastate hazardous liquids and carbon dioxide gathering pipelines located in a rural location as defined by 49 CFR §195.2 and not regulated by 49 CFR §195.1, §195.11, or §8.1. These lines must comply with the following requirements:

  • Corrosion control
  • Damage Prevention
  • Public Awareness
  • Establish MOP
  • Install and maintain line markers
  • ROW inspections & promptly repair hazardous leaks
  • Reporting

Western Region Update

California

The OSFM is proposing to develop new rules for the California Underground Facilities Safe Excavation Board – Investigations and Enforcement

  • This rulemaking action implements, interprets, clarifies, and makes specific investigation of possible violations and enforcement of article 2, chapter 3.1, division 5, of title 1 of the Government Code (“Dig Safe Law”), and onsite meeting and agreement requirements for areas of continual excavation near high priority subsurface installations.
  • The proposed regulations will require members of regional notification centers to maintain valid and current contact information with the appropriate regional notification center; require regional notification centers to provide updated contact information for their members to the Board upon request; require excavators to notify the appropriate regional notification center of certain types of damages to subsurface installations; require regional notification centers to transmit the damage notifications to the Board; establish investigation and enforcement processes, including types of sanctions, of the Dig Safe Law on excavators and operators; and establish requirements for excavators and operators for onsite meetings and agreements for areas of continual excavation near high priority subsurface installations.

[Comment period concluded on 7/2/2019]

The OSFM’s ongoing rulemaking to develop regulations as required by legislation that was passed after the 2015 Santa Barbara oil spill – AB 864 (2015) – continues. These regulations will become a new Article “Requirements For New Or Replacement Pipeline Near Environmentally and Ecologically Sensitive Areas In The Coastal Zone.”
Proposed rules were updated on Jan 17, 2019 after multiple workshops in 2017 and 2018. A notice of proposed rulemaking was issued on 2/5/2019. Public hearings were held thru April, with the end of the comment period April 2, 2019.

The Public Utilities Commission issued a proposed decision on 7/5/2019 to conclude its rulemaking regarding rules for Gas Leak Abatement.
In June 2018, Decision D1706015 approved the program at its current stage, as well as changes to General Order 112F and extended the statutory deadline. The proposed decision reiterates that best practices outlined in the 2017 decision are enforceable and will not be added to an existing or new GO at this time.
The decision proposes to close the rulemaking. It notes that further refinements could be made to Best Practices and to GO 112-F during the evaluation of the program in 2021 to reflect  leak survey cycles (Section 143.1 Distribution and Transmission Leakage Surveys and Procedures); and Leak Classification and Action Criteria Grade Definition of Priority of Leak Repair. The commission will also revisit adding the best practices to 112-F. Alternatively, all climate change requirements that are not safety driven procedures, could be incorporated into a separate GO for the sake of clarity.
The proposed decision will be included in a future Commission hearing for approval, 8/15/19 at the earliest.

SB169 this bill would authorize the State Fire Marshal to:

  • require the owner or operator of a pipeline to establish and maintain records, make reports, and provide any information that the State Fire Marshal reasonably requires, to create an inventory of pipelines that will be available to the public.
  • enter operator’s facility and inspect records.
  • disclose records, reports, or other information required to be maintained to an officer, employee, or authorized representative of the state or the United States for purposes of carrying out the requirements of the act or the federal Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Act, or when relevant to a proceeding pursuant to the act.

Current code excludes from the definition of pipeline a pipeline for the transportation of crude oil that operates by gravity or at a stress level of 20 percent or less of the specified minimum yield strength of the pipe. This bill would eliminate that exclusion.
This section will become operative only upon receipt of federal block grant funds as determined by the State Fire Marshal.
[7/10/2019 Failed passage, granted reconsideration in Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization]

AB1166 The regional notification center shall report the issuance of tickets to the Public Utilities Commission, and the Public Utilities Commission shall retain these records for five or more years.
[7/10/2019 Voted “Do Pass” in Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization after amendment.]

SB463 Would require an operator of a gas storage well to provide the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) a complete chemical inventory of specified materials that may be emitted from a gas storage well. Requires, on or before July 1, 2021, DOGGR in response to the independent root cause analysis of the 2015 Aliso Canyon gas leak, to review and revise, as applicable, its natural gas storage well policy and regulations. This includes regulations for cathodic protection of well casings, requirements for well control plans that include flow rate and potential flow rate calculations, and Requirements for reporting and investigating leaks and other pressure equipment integrity incidents that present a risk of leaks.
[7/10/2019 – received “Do Pass” from Assembly Committee on Natural Resources.]

Idaho

SB1073 was signed by the Governor on 3/28/2019 and is effective 7/1/2019. Some underground facility owners are also end user consumers of utility services or commodities. Service laterals are underground facilities located in public rights of way or utility easements. End users do not have operational control of, locational knowledge of, or the expertise or equipment to locate or mark service laterals, despite owning them, because the laterals are in rights of way or utility easements. The new law exempts end users from the requirement to locate and mark service laterals and requires underground facility owners with the ability to locate and mark service laterals to do so.

SB1011 was signed by the Governor on 3/22/2019 and is effective 7/1/2019. The Damage Prevention Board (Board) and stakeholders believe underground facility owners are best situated to report damage to their underground facilities and excavators are best situated to report downtime they suffer due to violations of chapter 22, title 55, Idaho Code. Accordingly, the Board and stakeholders believe only underground facility owners should be required to report damage to underground facilities and only excavators should be required to report excavator downtime. The new law eliminates potential double reporting by requiring only underground facility owners to report damage to underground facilities and only excavators to report excavator downtime. The new law also adds definitions for “hand digging,” “soft digging,” and “locator” to Idaho Code section 55-2202.

Washington

In an expedited rulemaking filed May 1, 2019 the WTUC proposed to amend its rules to make commission rules consistent with current published versions of federal rules and reflect the most current versions of the national safety standards. Comments were due by July 1, 2019.

Wyoming

HB0152, signed by the Governor on 2/26/2019 and effective 7/1/2019, modifies requirements for architectural and engineering plans that call for excavation and requires the notification center to provide location information to persons preparing such plans; requires operators to give notice to the notification center each 14 days for projects that exceed that time; requires (with some exceptions) excavators to mark their proposed excavation boundaries prior to facility marking by operators; requires an excavator to call 911 for contact with or damage to underground facilities; modifies penalties; requires monthly reports from the notification center to the Attorney General of any non-compliance complaints.


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State Pipeline Safety Regulation Updates – May/June 2019

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

Maine

LD 1720 would require excavators to call 9-1-1 if contact with or damage to an underground pipe or another underground facility results in the escape of any natural gas or other hazardous substance or material regulated by PHMSA.
[5/31/2019: reported out of Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology as Ought to Pass.]

Massachusetts

In response to the September 2018 Merrimack Valley gas explosions a group of new bills was introduced in the Massachusetts legislature. The bills below are representative of some of the major themes addressed in the proposed legislation:

SD2160 An Act Relative to Gas Leaks and Infrastructure outlines proposed new regulations for Emergency response (operators to immediately inform fire department and chief law enforcement officers, all departments must generate a report after each event). Operators would be required to provide grade 2 and 3 monthly leak reporting to fire department, conduct public way site repair after project and subsequent maintenance of site for 5 years. The DPU would be required to review the number of pipeline inspectors at least annually. Operator penalties for failure to comply include denial of rate increase and/or financial penalties.

SD2153 An Act to Promote Gas Safety
Boards and committees:
Establishes an energy infrastructure oversight board, to be appointed by the governor to make recommendations with respect to gas safety, oversight and inspection of gas facilities, employment of inspectors and engineers to oversee pipeline construction and maintenance, and emergency response protocols for gas-related incidents. Annual reports from the committee will be presented to the governor and Senate House committees on ways and means. Also creates a commission to review the state’s gas infrastructure and provide a report to the general court by January 1, 2020.
Cooperative reporting with neighboring states:
Establish a notification system to provide and receive information regarding incidents.
Leaks reported by public:
response to be timely, all leak reports from customers will be logged in a publicly-accessible database.
LNG safety:
All proposals for substantial construction, renovation, repair or expansion for facilities that store, vaporize or produce liquefied natural gas are subject to DPU review, must include an analysis of the proposal’s impact on the safety of the facility and the distribution system during and after construction and may be further reviewed by energy facilities siting board and Mass environmental policy act office.
More pipeline engineers:
The department shall employ pipeline engineers to oversee construction on or adjacent to distribution company pipelines, ensure compliance with all relevant statutory and regulatory requirements and investigate complaints. All pipeline engineers shall receive the necessary training and qualification to perform field duties, as determined by the department, not later than 6 months after employment. The department shall employ not less than 1 pipeline engineer for every 100 miles of pipeline owned by a distribution or one pipeline engineer for every 2,000 customers, whichever is greater.
Gas regulators:
The department of public utilities shall promulgate regulations establishing requirements for the maintenance and security of gas regulators, including, but not limited to, service quality metrics. The department shall implement these regulations not later than January 1, 2021

HD 1097 Act for field safety in gas infrastructure
Maps and records:
DPU to promulgate regulations by 1/1/2021 establishing requirements for the maintenance, timely updating, accuracy, and security of gas LDC maps and records. Each LDC shall report each disruption in its ability to provide electronic data, including but not limited to, maps and records relevant to inspections, maintenance, repairs, and construction to its in-house workforce and contractors lasting more than 30 minutes – disruptions will be incorporated as a metric in the DPU’s service quality indicators for LDCs.
In addition:

  • Each LDC shall maintain a central control room within its service territory with trained staff sufficient to monitor its pipeline and respond to fluctuations in pressurization, reportable incidents, and infrastructure failures.
  • Outlines system of uniform natural gas leaks classification/reporting for all gas companies.
  • Leak detection and repair of leaks prior to projects on public way by municipalities, state or LDC; ensure safety valves function
  • Leaks within school zone are priority
  • Inside meter safety

Additional bills that address improving excavation safety were also introduced recently.

New York

The Public Service Commission has opened rulemaking dockets (19-G-018119-G-0182) to update its rules to ensure conformance with 49 CFR Part 192 and Part 199, Transportation of Natural and Other Gas by Pipeline.

Pennsylvania

The following bills were introduced and referred to the Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure committee on 2/7/2019:

  • SB263 would add a new section “Pipeline Safety Valves” requiring that all facilities of a public utility engaged in the transmission of gas or hazardous liquids placed into service after the effective date of this section to have automatic or remote controlled shutoff valves installed. Annual testing of these valves would be required.
  • SB258 would require utilities to meet with local emergency management organizations twice per year, and outlines the information that operators would be required to transmit.
  • SB 260 outlines types of information that pipeline operators must provide to schools, if requested, that fall within 1000 ft of PUC-jurisdictional hazardous liquids and natural gas pipelines, including how to respond to a leak or product release. (Similar to HB 733 introduced on 3/18/19, now in House Consumer Affairs committee.)
  • The following bill was introduced and referred to the Environmental Resources and Energy committee on 2/26/2019:
  • SB 283 would replace the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission with the Department of Transportation of the Commonwealth; and providing for Federal delegation. The bill would centralize pipeline safety inspection within the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Pennsylvania’s lateral regulatory agency to PHMSA. Second, PennDOT would be required to make application to the federal government for designation as an Interstate Agent in the inspection of interstate pipelines traversing Pennsylvania.

A group of bills were introduced on 3/25/19 as part of a “Pipeline Safety Package” and are currently in the House Consumer Affairs committee.

  • HB 886 would require a public utility operating a pipeline in a high consequence area to install automatic or remote shutoff valves within 100 feet of each municipal boundary crossed by the facility and within 100 feet of the facility’s entry and exist of each high consequence area. A public utility is required to test the reliability of shutoff valves annually and provide the results of these tests to each municipality where a shutoff valve is located.
  • HB 887 would amend the Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Act to require General Assembly approval, by concurrent resolution, prior to the construction or development of any pipeline that traverses three or more counties.
  • HB 888 would amend the Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Act to require that, following an incident that results in a shutdown of a pipeline, the operator must inspect the entirety of the pipeline before resuming operations. Under federal regulations, a pipeline operator may voluntarily or involuntarily, by action of the Public Utility Commission, suspend operations of a pipeline when a leak occurs that results in a death or personal injury requiring hospitalization, property damage of $50,000 or more, loss of three million cubic feet or more of product, or any other event deemed significant in the judgment of the operator.
  • HB 889 would amend the Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipelines Act to require a pipeline operator, upon written request, to release any safety assessment studies or data that were conducted or collected about their facilities.
  • HB 890 would require a public utility with facilities transporting natural gas or natural gas liquids to meet with the county emergency coordinators along the pipeline route to identify any high consequence areas and the potential impact radius around the pipeline. The public utility must also share its current emergency operating procedures with the emergency coordinators.

Virginia

S1176, approved in March and effective on July 1, 2019 requires that the State Corporation Commission make finalized enforcement actions and reports of investigations available on request. Reports must have sensitive information removed or redacted.

Updated in WinDOT:
Installation of Utility Lines and Pipeline Safety [Va. Code]
56-257.4. Report by the State Corporation Commission on investigation of natural gas utilities incident (new section)

Washington, D.C.

City Council bill B23-0117, now in the Committee on Business and Economic Development and scheduled for a public hearing on May 13, would broaden enforcement authority of underground facilities, such as gas and power lines to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs administratively. Currently, enforcement authority is limited to the District of Columbia Superior Court. This bill also:

  • Amends the definition of excavation to include trenchless technology
  • Requires that utilities respond to request from One-Call within 48 hours
  • Requires that a project provide adequate protection, including supports as needed, to utility operator workers when they enter the immediate vicinity of the facility.
  • Eliminates an exception for small excavation projects that were contained within the limits of the original excavation and did not exceed twelve inches in depth.
  • Increases the civil penalty for subsequent violations from $3,500 to $5,000 for a second offense and from $5,000 to $10,000 for a third or subsequent offense. As an alternative to these civil penalties, the bill authorizes the Mayor to issue civil fines and penalties under the Civil Infraction Act
  • Authorizes the Mayor to implement educational programs, collect data, and require reporting by entities subject to the Act in order to develop an effective damage prevention program.

A public hearing was held on May 13 and the bill is currently under council review.

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.

Southern Region Update

Alabama

SB315 was signed into law and becomes effective on January 1, 2020. It creates the 17-member Underground Damage Prevention Authority to enforce the notification requirement penalties provisions of the “One-Call Notification System”;  (1) for a first violation, a fine not to exceed $500; (2) for a second violation, a fine not to exceed $1,000; (3) for a third and subsequent violations, a fine not to exceed $4,000; and (4) for a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 for a violation that is a result of gross negligence. This bill requires the Public Service Commission (PSC) to provide administrative support to the Authority.

Florida

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has initiated a rulemaking to update its LP gas rules to reflect the significant changes were made to Chapter 527, Florida Statutes during the 2018 legislative session. The proposed rules are being amended to:

  • Repeal redundant, unnecessary rules;
    Update incorporated forms and standard references, and eliminate forms that are no longer necessary;
  • Clarify vague definitions;
  • Clarify that department inspectors will no longer use a “Red Tag” to prohibit use, but Stop Use Orders consistent with other bureau programs;
  • Clarify the type of leak survey required for underground tanks, remove unnecessary common use definition and remove exemptions for certain underground tanks defined by 49 CFR;
  • Add required user notification after a dealer repairs or alters a LP gas system in case indoor appliances have been affected posing a safety hazard;
  • Update CEU training requirements;
  • Update penalty rules to be consistent with department standard and add notice of noncompliance in lieu of warning letter to reduce administrative procedures; and update resolution, settlement and remedies rules to meet current department standard.

The Public Service Commission has proposed amendments to its rules to incorporate by reference the 2018 edition of 49 CFR Parts 191, 192 and 199.

North Carolina

H872 has the following provisions:

  • Modifies the information an operator must provide to excavators designating the location of underground facilities in the area of a proposed excavation to require operators to mark:

o The dimension of an underground facility every 50 feet, rather than every 25 feet, in certain circumstances.

o The operator’s identity in an area where the proposed excavation or demolition is to occur. At a minimum, the operator’s identity must be marked at the beginning point, at intervals of 200 linear feet, and at the end point of the proposed excavation or demolition.

  • Modifies the minimum requirements for the notice that an excavator must provide to the Notification Center concerning the location of a proposed excavation or demolition, by identifying:

o A single parcel that may exceed 1/4 mile in linear length, by a single address.

o The lesser of five adjoining parcels, not to exceed 1/4 mile in linear length or an area not to exceed 1/4 mile in linear length, by addresses.

  • Prohibits an excavator from using mechanized equipment within 24 inches of a facility that is a highly volatile liquid pipeline system (in addition to existing prohibitions on gas, oil, and petroleum transmission lines).
  • Modifies the exemption concerning routine maintenance in a right-of-way, requiring that persons doing such maintenance must be on “permanent payroll” of the entity performing the maintenance, and not a contractor acting behalf of such an entity.
  • Adds an exemption for pavement milling and resurfacing (which had previously been included in the exemption for maintenance activities).
  • Modifies the notice provision for emergency excavation or demolition to require written notice to the Notification Center as soon as practicable.
  • Adds a new requirement that the Board approve training courses and the sponsors of those training courses in connection with actions or penalty the Board may impose for a violation.

The bill would also authorize the Board to impose a fee on operators in order to fund the activities and operations of the Board in reviewing reports of alleged violations of this Article. The fee would be based on the jurisdictional revenues of an operator, and must be set at a rate that the total proceeds of all fees collected would not exceed $200,000 annually to fund the activities and operations of the Board.
[In House Finance Committee 5/2/2019]

Central Region Update

Illinois

The Illinois Commerce Commission adopted amendments to its rules, effective May 2, 2019, in two rulemakings:

  • 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.

Updated in WinDOT:
Part 590 Minimum Safety Standards for Transportation of Gas and for Gas Pipeline Facilities [ILAC]
Section 590.10 Standards
Section 590.20 Submission of Federal Reports to the Commission
Section 595.120 Reporting of Accidents or Incidents

Iowa

The Board is engaged in the following additional 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.

Indiana

The IURC has readopted without amendments its Standards of Service rules for Gas Utilities, effective May 11.

Updated in WinDOT:
170 IAC 5. Gas Utilities
Rule 1. Standards of Service (citations only)

Nebraska

The state’s Fire Marshall is proposing to amend its rules for pipeline safety and one-call notification center to adopt Federal regulations in 49 CFR (Parts 191, 192, 193, 199 and adding 196) in effect as of April 1, 2019. The proposal changes the time limit for reporting incidents to 1 hour; requires operators to provide documents in digital format: O&M, Emergency Plan, Damage Prevention program (to be submitted annually); and operation maps for distribution and transmission systems (to be submitted every 5 years).
In addition, the proposed regulations contain updated definitions and best practices for use in the One Call System, and updates to the composition, qualifications, appointment and retention of the One Call Board of Directors.
[Public hearing eas held 5/13/19]

LB 462 was approved by the Governor on 5/31/2019 and becomes effective in 90 days. amend the One-Call Notification System Act to add notification requirements, provides additional authority and duties for the One-Call Board of Directors and the State Fire Marshal, creates a dispute resolution board, and requires utility locators to be licensed by the SFM.

South Dakota

SB18 was signed by the Governor on 3/7/2019, and becomes effective on 7/1/2019. The new law doubles South Dakota’s maximum civil penalty for some pipeline safety violations to $2 million.

HB1024 (2018, effective 7/1/2019) 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

Louisiana

SB 82 has been snet to the Governor for signature:

  • provides if the operator and excavator cannot agree to extend the time and the excavation or demolition activity could impact a pipeline located on or in water, upon written request by the operator, the commissioner of conservation may delay the mark-by time prior to the commencement of any excavation or demolition activity in order to allow for the accurate marking of such pipeline.
  • provides that the commissioner of conservation may extend the time to complete the excavation or demolition activity if such activity could impact a pipeline located on or in water.
  • provides that except as provided in present law, no parish, municipal, local, or state governing authority may enact any ordinance or promulgate any rules or regulations which are in conflict with the provisions of present law.

Oklahoma

Two rulemakings are in progress:

The Gas And Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety rules (Chapter 20) are being amended [rules submitted to the Governor and the legislature on 3/8/2019 for approval]:

  • 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:
    1. Requiring underground facility operators to provide additional information to excavators (facility material size and type).
    2. Listing requirements for telephonic damage reporting.
    3. Requiring a written report of damages caused by excavation.
    4. 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 [adopted 2/8/2019 and transmitted to the Governor and legislature for approval]:

  • 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.

SB1008/HB2097 amends definition for “excavate” includes activities w/in public or private right-of-way; modifies timeline requiring operator to locate and mark underground facilities (from 48 hours after receipt of demolition notice to prior to the date work is scheduled to begin).
[Approved by the Governor 4/24/2019, effective 11/1/2019]

Texas

HB866, was signed by the Governor on 6/2/2019 and effective immediately. It prohibits installation of cast iron, wrought iron, bare steel pipe for use in gas distribution pipelines and requires operators to replace said pipe with plastic by 12/31/2020.

Updated in WinDOT:
Utilities Code [TS] Chapter 121. Gas Pipelines
Sec. 121.213. INSTALLATION, REMOVAL, AND REPLACEMENT OF CERTAIN PIPELINES. (new section)

HB 864 was sent to the Governor for signature on 5/29/2019. This bill adds a new code section regarding pipeline incident reporting and records. It defines “incident” and directs the RRC to promulgate rules by December 31, 2019 to require an operator to notify the commission within 1 hour of the confirmed discovery of an incident to provide contact information, incident location and any other known pertinent information.

Western Region Update

California

The OSFM is proposing to develop new rules for the California Underground Facilities Safe Excavation Board – Investigations and Enforcement

  • This rulemaking action implements, interprets, clarifies, and makes specific investigation of possible violations and enforcement of article 2, chapter 3.1, division 5, of title 1 of the Government Code (“Dig Safe Law”), and onsite meeting and agreement requirements for areas of continual excavation near high priority subsurface installations.
  • The proposed regulations will require members of regional notification centers to maintain valid and current contact information with the appropriate regional notification center; require regional notification centers to provide updated contact information for their members to the Board upon request; require excavators to notify the appropriate regional notification center of certain types of damages to subsurface installations; require regional notification centers to transmit the damage notifications to the Board; establish investigation and enforcement processes, including types of sanctions, of the Dig Safe Law on excavators and operators; and establish requirements for excavators and operators for onsite meetings and agreements for areas of continual excavation near high priority subsurface installations.

[Comment period concludes on 7/1/2019]

The OSFM’s ongoing rulemaking to develop regulations as required by legislation that was passed after the 2015 Santa Barbara oil spill – AB 864 (2015) – is moving forward. These regulations will become a new Article “Requirements For New Or Replacement Pipeline Near Environmentally and Ecologically Sensitive Areas In The Coastal Zone.”

Proposed rules were updated on Jan 17, 2019 after multiple workshops in 2017 and 2018. A notice of proposed rulemaking was issued on 2/5/2019. Public hearings were held thru April, with the end of the comment period April 2, 2019.

SB169 this bill would authorize the State Fire Marshal to:

  • require the owner or operator of a pipeline to establish and maintain records, make reports, and provide any information that the State Fire Marshal reasonably requires, to create an inventory of pipelines that will be available to the public.
  • enter operator’s facility and inspect records.
  • disclose records, reports, or other information required to be maintained to an officer, employee, or authorized representative of the state or the United States for purposes of carrying out the requirements of the act or the federal Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Act, or when relevant to a proceeding pursuant to the act.

Current code excludes from the definition of pipeline a pipeline for the transportation of crude oil that operates by gravity or at a stress level of 20 percent or less of the specified minimum yield strength of the pipe. This bill would eliminate that exclusion.
This section will become operative only upon receipt of federal block grant funds as determined by the State Fire Marshal.
[5/30/2019] In Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization]

AB1166 The regional notification center shall report the issuance of tickets to the Public Utilities Commission, and the Public Utilities Commission shall retain these records for five or more years.
[6/10/2019 Re-referred to the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization after amendment.]

Colorado

On 6/14/2019 the Department of Labor and Employment, Division of Oil and Public Safety rules “Underground Damage Prevention Safety Commission Regulations”, which were adopted as emergency rules effective 2/14/2019, became permanent.
The regulations establish rules for the Commission under the Excavation Requirements Act §§ 9-1.5-101, et. seq., C.R.S. and cover general provisions, enforcement of violations and best practices.

Updated in WinDOT:
7 CCR 1101-18 Underground Damage Prevention Safety Commission Regulations

Idaho

SB1073 was signed by the Governor on 3/28/2019 and is effective 7/1/2019. Some underground facility owners are also end user consumers of utility services or commodities. Service laterals are underground facilities located in public rights of way or utility easements. End users do not have operational control of, locational knowledge of, or the expertise or equipment to locate or mark service laterals, despite owning them, because the laterals are in rights of way or utility easements. The new law exempts end users from the requirement to locate and mark service laterals and requires underground facility owners with the ability to locate and mark service laterals to do so.

SB1011 was signed by the Governor on 3/22/2019 and is effective 7/1/2019. The Damage Prevention Board (Board) and stakeholders believe underground facility owners are best situated to report damage to their underground facilities and excavators are best situated to report downtime they suffer due to violations of chapter 22, title 55, Idaho Code. Accordingly, the Board and stakeholders believe only underground facility owners should be required to report damage to underground facilities and only excavators should be required to report excavator downtime. The new law eliminates potential double reporting by requiring only underground facility owners to report damage to underground facilities and only excavators to report excavator downtime. The new law also adds definitions for “hand digging,” “soft digging,” and “locator” to Idaho Code section 55-2202.

Washington

In an expedited rulemaking filed May 1, 2019 the WTUC proposed to amend its rules to make commission rules consistent with current published versions of federal rules and reflect the most current versions of the national safety standards. Comments are due by July 1, 2019.

Wyoming

HB0152, signed by the Governor on 2/26/2019 and effective 7/1/2019, modifies requirements for architectural and engineering plans that call for excavation and requires the notification center to provide location information to persons preparing such plans; requires operators to give notice to the notification center each 14 days for projects that exceed that time; requires (with some exceptions) excavators to mark their proposed excavation boundaries prior to facility marking by operators; requires an excavator to call 911 for contact with or damage to underground facilities; modifies penalties; requires monthly reports from the notification center to the Attorney General of any non-compliance complaints.


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Is it a Transmission Line?

Recently the Railroad Commission of Texas asked for an interpretation of “transmission line” as defined in §192.3.  Operators in Texas had revised the classification of pipelines operating below 20% SMYS from transmission to distribution.

Read PHMSA’s response below:

Continue reading “Is it a Transmission Line?”

PHMSA Answers Questions on EFV’s

PHMSA published the final rule Expanding the Use of Excess Flow Valves in Gas Distribution Systems to Applications Other Than Single-Family Residences on October 14, 2016, with an effective date of April 14, 2017.  The EFV final rule changed 49 CFR part 192 regulations regarding the use of Excess Flow Valves  and manual service line shut-off valves on gas service lines.  Industry and other stakeholders widely agreed on the content of the final rule.

The following questions were generated during two webinars that were held regarding the Final Rule, and each is followed by the response developed by PHMSA.

Glossary: 

Acronym Term
AGA American Gas Association
EFV Excess Flow Valve
MFR Multi-family Residence
O&M Operations & Maintenance
SCFH Standard Cubic Feet per Hour
SFR Single-family Residence

Section 1 – Answers to questions posed verbally during the AGA webinars.

  1. How do we go about recovering costs for existing services?

 For customer-requested EFVs on existing service lines, note that section 192.383(d) states, in relevant part: “If an eligible service line customer requests an EFV installation, an operator must install the EFV at a mutually agreeable date.  The operator’s rate-setter determines how and to whom the costs of the requested EFVs are distributed.”

  1. Valves installed on branch services need to be commercially available, correct? Even in cases beyond 1,000 SCFH?

 Yes, for a new or replaced branched service line, an EFV must be installed pursuant to section 192.383(b)(2) or (3) unless an appropriate EFV is not commercially available, as noted in 192.383(c)(4).

  1. If the rate-setter determines the customer has to pay for the EFV, and the customer cannot pay or refuses to pay, is the operator still required to install the EFV?

 This question is left to the specific rate-setter.  Section 192.383(d) provides, in relevant part: “The operator’s rate-setter determines how and to whom the costs of the requested EFVs are distributed.”

  1. On annual reporting – is the rule only capturing the recording of the valves installed under 192.385? Same issue – estimated number of services installed – is the rule only capturing the curb valves/services installed in lieu of an EFV?

 Yes, the rule only requires reporting of the total number of manual service line shut-off valves (curb valves) and total services with those valves installed pursuant to section 192.385.  Reporting requirements for EFV installations have not changed.

  1. Would PHMSA allow exception to EFV installation close to the main if there would be a cost savings to installing close to the riser?

No, cost savings alone is not considered.  Section 192.381(d) requires EFV installation “as near as practical to the fitting connecting the service line to its source of gas supply.”  EFVs only provide protection downstream of their installation, so in most cases installation at the service riser would limit the utility and safety effectiveness of installing an EFV.

  1. Do SFRs have the options of having curb valves installed, or must an EFV be installed?
    If the line meets an exception 192.383(c), a curb valve does not need to be installed, correct?

 Under section 192.383(b)(1), (2), and (3), SFRs and branched service lines do not have the option for installing a manual service line shut-off valve or curb valve in place of an EFV.  Similarly, under section 192.383(b)(4) and (5), MFRs and single, small commercial customers served by a single service line with a known customer load not exceeding 1,000 SCFH do not have the option for installing a curb valve in place of an EFV.
In response to the second question, if a line that otherwise would require installation of an EFV pursuant to 192.383(b) meets one of the exceptions in 192.383(c), a curb valve does not need to be installed.

  1. In 192.383(b)(2)&(3), can you install an EFV on the branch to multiple commercial services, or must an EFV be installed on each individual commercial service?

Section 192.383(b)(2) and (3) only pertains to branched SFRs, and section 192.383(b)(5) only addresses single, small commercial customers served by a single service line.

  1. For branched small commercial services where the connected load is greater than 1,000 SCFH, can I install a curb valve at the main to cover all the lines rather than putting a valve on each service line?

Similar to the EFV installation requirements in sections 192.381 and 192.383, the intent of section 192.385 is to protect the service line by addition of EFVs or curb valves.  Therefore, to protect as much of the service line as is practicable, the valve should be located near the service main or a common source of supply.
In most cases these valves are expected to be “ON” the service line itself.

  1. If we elect to install an EFV beyond 1,000 SCFH, is a curb valve still required?

If an EFV is installed to comply with the requirements of section 192.385, then a curb valve would not be required in addition to the EFV.

  1. Do we only need to notify new customers after making the initial notification?

A web posting accessible to all applicable customers, which includes sufficient information to assist customers in making an informed decision whether they want to request an EFV installation and meets the Part 192 notification requirements, could be acceptable.  If this web posting would not reach all applicable customers, an operator could use other methods in combination with the web posting method, including bill stuffers, new customer packets, statements on billing materials, et cetera.  But a broad, electronic method of communication could meet the intent of the regulation and be acceptable as long as the operator can be sure of reaching all customers who have a right to request an EFV.

  1. How soon would incremental notifications need to be made moving forward?

 Initial notification is required by April 14, 2017.  The regulations do not provide a timetable for incremental notifications, noting only that customers are required to be notified.
Notification frequency is not explicit in the regulations.  The intent is that all customers who have a right to request an EFV are notified pursuant to section 192.383 requirements.  The frequency of this notification is left to the operator, with the understanding that the “customer” may change over time (i.e., new customers must be notified).

  1. Does PHMSA have a preference to whether EFVs or curb valves are installed for services above 1,000 SCFH?

In situations where either an EFV or a curb valve must be installed pursuant to section 192.385, the operator may decide based on a sound engineering analysis.

  1. How does an operator know if they are reaching all customers through a website notification that meets the requirement of the regulation?

A web posting accessible to all applicable customers, which includes sufficient information to assist customers in making an informed decision whether they want to request an EFV installation and meets the Part 192 notification requirements, could be acceptable.  If this web posting would not reach all applicable customers, an operator could use other methods in combination with the web posting method, including bill stuffers, new customer packets, statements on billing materials, et cetera.  But a broad, electronic method of communication could meet the requirement of the regulation as long as the communication reaches all customers who have a right to request an EFV.

  1. If I have a maintenance-free ball valve as a curb valve, what is my maintenance requirement?

As stated in the final rule’s preamble, operator personnel can meet the requirements of section 192.385(c) by ensuring the valves are free of debris that could prevent operation and by ensuring the valves can turn and operate.
Operators will be expected to develop the details of their maintenance plans.
Also, an operator’s O&M Manuals or manufacturer’s instructions could add additional maintenance requirements.  Note that the requirement includes the words “consistent with the valve manufacturer’s specification” as well.

  1. Do the exemptions for EFV installation apply to curb valve installation as well? If I have a line with a load above 1,000 SCFH but operating below 10 psig (or meeting another of the 383(c) exceptions), do I have to install a curb valve?

No, the exceptions in section 192.383(c) do not apply to curb valves.
In a scenario where section 192.385 requires the installation of a curb valve, an operator would be required to install a curb valve even if exceptions for using an EFV existed.

  1. Can I locate my curb box at the property line, or must the curb valve be located closer to the main? Is it acceptable to have, for instance, a 10-foot “stub line” from the main to the property line?

Similar to the EFV installation requirements in sections 192.381 and 192.383, the intent of section 192.385 is to protect the service line by the addition of EFVs or valves.  Therefore, to protect as much of the service line as is practicable, the valve should be located near the service main or a common source of supply.
In most cases these valves are expected to be “ON” the service line itself.
We are interested in feedback from AGA and others in the gas community as to what type of situations might require the installation of a curb valve at a location other than on the service line, as near to the main as possible.


Section 2 – Answers to questions posed in writing prior to the AGA webinars.

  1. PHMSA provides exceptions for MFRs (see §192.383(b)(4)) and Single, Small Commercial Customers (see §192.383(b)(5)), but not for SFRs or Branched Service Lines. Is it PHMSA’s intent that SFR or branched service lines with loads exceeding 1,000 SCFH to have an exception as well?

From the information provided to PHMSA through the rulemaking process, including the comments received and responded to within the final rule’s preamble, PHMSA does not expect SFRs or SFR branched services to typically exceed 1,000 SCFH loads.  Therefore, the upper bound triggering the requirements of section 192.385 for curb valve or EFV installation was only noted for MFRs and service lines serving single, small commercial customers.
PHMSA did not intend to create an exception from the EFV installation requirements for SFRs and SFR branched services over 1,000 SCFH, but this scenario was not expected.  Service lines serving SFRs and SFR branched services require an EFV even if over 1,000 SCFH, and operators do not have the option to install curb valves instead.

  1. What is PHMSA’s intent for “known load”? Is it the total connected load at time of service installation?

“Known Customer Load” is based on the installed meter capacity, which indicates the max load expected.  EFVs should be sized so that they are compatible with the meter being used.

  1. PHMSA references two criteria in (192.383(b)(4) & (5)): Customer Load & Meter Capacity. Which criteria does PHMSA intend operators to use?

The response to Question #2 also applies here.  In short, meter capacity is to be used.

  1. What is PHMSA’s intent when it states that an EFV “could interfere with necessary operation or maintenance activities”? For Example: Does PHMSA intend to exempt service lines that are longer than the manufacturer’s recommendation for the length of a service line?

Please note that, although the scope of the services section 192.383(c)(2) have changed, the substantive requirements of section 192.383(c)(2) were not changed through this final rule, other than the last word which was changed from “residence” to “customer.”
For example, if an operator’s O&M activities include blowing liquids from your line, and an EFV could shut and interfere with necessary activities, this exception could be valid.  An EFV is not meant to be an impediment to necessary O&M activities, and there may be relatively rare situations in which installation of an EFV could constitute such an impediment.

  1. Are operators required to make notification to customers by April 14, 2017? Or by the end of 2017?  Or some other date?

Operators are required to make the appropriate notifications by April 14, 2017.

  1. Is a web posting notification by April 14 acceptable?

The operator may decide to follow up with other communications later.
A web posting accessible to all applicable customers, which includes sufficient information to assist customers in making an informed decision whether they want to request an EFV installation and meets the Part 192 notification requirements, could be acceptable.  If this web posting would not reach all applicable customers, an operator could use other methods in combination with the web posting method, including bill stuffers, new customer packets, statements on billing materials, et cetera.  But a broad, electronic method of communication could meet the intent of the regulation and be acceptable as long as the operator can be sure of reaching all customers who have a right to request an EFV.

  1. What is the “frequency” to which you must notify customers under §192.383(e)?

Notification frequency is not explicit in the regulations.  The intent is that operators notify all customers who have a right to request an EFV pursuant to section 192.383 requirements.  The frequency at which this occurs is left to the operator, with the understanding that the “customer” may change over time (i.e., new customers must be notified).

  1. What is the expected location of this service line shut-off valve? As close as possible to the main?

For curb valves installed under section 192.385, an operator should locate the valve as close to the main as is practicable to protect as much of the service line as possible (similar to EFV requirements in section 192.383) but to allow for accessibility of the valve, as is required.  The next question is related, and reading PHMSA’s responses in tandem may help to answer both questions. 

  1. What is meant by “located near the service line”?

Similar to the EFV installation requirements in sections 192.381 and 192.383, the intent of section 192.385 is to protect the service line by addition of EFVs or valves.  Therefore, in order to protect as much of the service line as is practicable, the valve should be located near the service main or a common source of supply.
In most cases these valves are expected to be “ON” the service line itself.
We are interested in feedback from AGA and others in the gas community as to what type of situations might require the installation of a curb valve at a location other than on the service line, as near to the main as possible.

  1. What items can be expected to be covered during “regular scheduled maintenance”? For Example: Find, locate, and make accessible valve box; and ensure “wrench/tool” can be placed on valve to enable turning if needed.

As stated in the final rule’s preamble, operator personnel can meet the requirements of section 192.385(c) by ensuring the valves are free of debris that could prevent operation and by ensuring the valves can turn and operate.
Operators will be expected to develop the details of their maintenance plans.
Also, an operator’s O&M Manuals or manufacturer’s instructions could add additional maintenance requirements.  Note that the requirement includes the words “consistent with the valve manufacturer’s specification” as well.


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PHMSA Releases Hazardous Liquid Final Rule

PHMSA 02-17
Friday, January 13, 2017
Contact: Allie Aguilera
Tel.: 202-366-4831

PHMSA Completes Rulemaking that Boosts Safety Requirements to Strengthen the
Operation, Maintenance, and Inspection of the Nation’s Hazardous Liquid Pipelines

WASHINGTON – Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez, head of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced today that she signed a long awaited rulemaking package that makes critical safety improvements for hazardous liquid pipelines. Today’s signing of the final rule for the safety of on-shore hazardous liquid pipelines completes one of the agency’s top priority rulemakings for 2016.

“As the use of hazardous liquid pipelines to transport the nation’s energy supply grows, communities around the country have demanded regulatory certainty around the safe operation of these lines and facilities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This rule gives operators clear direction on the design, construction, and operation of hazardous liquid pipelines lines and holds them accountable for the safety of the communities they serve- its full implementation will be a vital step in driving our pipeline safety mission.”

The nation contains close to 200,000 miles of hazardous liquid pipelines operating near local communities and treasured landscapes, and crossing major bodies of water, including rivers. The rule signed today strengthens the standards that determine how operators repair aging and high-risk infrastructure, increases the quality and frequency of tests that assess the condition of pipelines, and extends leak detection the requirements to onshore, non-HCA transmission hazardous liquid pipelines.

“The changing energy environment in the United States requires that we all become increasingly anticipatory, predictive, and prepared for emerging risks,” said PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez. “This is a forward looking rule- it pushes operators to invest in increased data capabilities, to continuously improve their processes to assess and mitigate risk, and strengthens our framework for strong prescriptive regulations.”

The rule includes an increased focus on a data and risk informed approach to pipeline safety by requiring operators to integrate available data, including data on the operating environment, pipeline condition, and known manufacturing and construction defects. The rule requires pipeline operators to have a system for detecting leaks and to establish a timeline for inspecting affected pipelines following an extreme weather event or natural disaster. The inspections will allow operators to quickly identify damage to pipelines and make appropriate remediations.

The rule also requires operators to annually evaluate the protective measures they are already required to implement on pipeline segments that operate in High Consequence Areas (HCA) where pipeline failures have the highest potential for human or environmental damage, and implement additional measures as necessary. In addition, the rule sets a deadline for operators to use internal inspection tools where possible for any new and replaced pipeline that could affect an HCA. The rule also improves the quality and frequency of tests used to assess threats and the condition of pipelines.

Furthermore, the rule updates repair criteria under PHMSA’s risk-based management framework by expanding the list of conditions that require immediate repair.

The final rulemaking has been transmitted to the Federal Register for publication. An actual date of publication will be determined by the Federal Register, and PHMSA will update its website with a link to the rule when it is published.

For more information on the U.S. DOT’s efforts to improve pipeline safety and awareness, including details about the proposed rule, visit the PHMSA website at www.phmsa.dot.gov.

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PIPES Act Regulatory Updates

The PIPES Act of 2016 mandated that the PHMSA provide regular public reports on rulemaking activities for all outstanding rules.

Section 3 (c) of the Act defines an outstanding regulation as:

(1) a final rule required under the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 (Public Law 112–90) that has not been published in the Federal Register; and

(2) a final rule regarding gas or hazardous liquid pipeline facilities required under this Act or an Act enacted prior to the date of enactment of this Act (other than the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011(Public Law 112–90)) that has not been published in the Federal Register. In addition, PHMSA is to provide a description of all rulemakings regarding gas or hazardous liquid pipeline facilities published in the Federal Register that are not identified above.

The agency has just published the first of these reports which includes rulemakings related to both the 2011 and 2016 PIPES Act. This chart (provided by PHMSA) shows not only the status of rules, but also the work plan, staff allocations and projected dates for each rule.


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