22 Dec Pennsylvania Senate approves Gathering Line Legislation
The Pennsylvania State Senate recently approved legislation to protect local communities by ensuring the safety of natural gas lines. The legislation, which passed unanimously, will give state regulators oversight over gathering lines in the state of Pennsylvania.
House Bill 344 would allow the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to have regulatory oversight of natural gas lines as well as the authority to conduct inspections and investigations on the smaller pipeline systems that connect wells to transmission lines. The PUC will be acting in coordination with the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration.
Pennsylvania is currently one of few states producing natural gas that does not give the authority of gas lines to the state, leaving no agency to ensure compliance for safety regulations. The bill leads the way for Pennsylvania to follow the lead of other gas producing states to ensure that proper protocols are in place for both safety and regulations. The bill does not include regulations over gathering lines in sparsely populated corners of the state, known as “Class I” pipelines. A companion bill in the state Senate, Senate Bill 325 would create a registry of all Class I lines.
The proposal is now on its way to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett to be signed into law. It is supported by the state fire commissioner, the Pennsylvania Consumer Advocate, the Pennsylvania Landfill Association, the Pennsylvania Propane Association, the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, and the Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania.