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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 15, 2019 05:06 PM
From: Representative Kristine C. Howard
To: All House members
Subject: Co-Sponsorship: Real-Time Alerts for a Pipeline Emergency
As a House companion to Senator Dinniman’s legislation, I will soon introduce legislation that requires the use of fiber optic technology to monitor risks to public safety and alert appropriate state and local agencies in the event of a potential pipeline emergency.

Fiber-optic strands can detect pressure changes or vibrations that could indicate a leak or an impact to a pipeline and within seconds, transmit that threat to a remote monitoring station and trained pipeline operations team. While some pipeline operators currently use Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems to enhance safety and efficiency by monitoring and transmitting this critical information, operators are currently not required to immediately notify PUC or emergency management in the county or counties where the threat was recorded. This legislation would increase transparency related to reporting criteria and greatly improve public safety protocol in the event of a potential pipeline failure.

As you all can appreciate, seconds matter in a pipeline emergency. We must assure that pipeline companies operating within our Commonwealth not only make use of the latest technology to monitor system safety, but also provide “real-time” alerts to state agencies and local residents. Similar regulatory requirements have been required by agencies in states in the aftermath of catastrophic pipeline events that have resulted in substantial property damage, significant injury, or death.

With that said, it is my strong belief that we need not wait until it is too late to implement a real-time alert system that increases transparency and improves public safety. As such, I ask that you join me by co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my Harrisburg office at (717) 783-4088.

Introduced as HB1727