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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 7, 2016 11:11 AM
From: Senator Lisa Baker
To: All Senate members
Subject: Updates to the Pennsylvania One Call Law

Please join me in co-sponsoring legislation amending the Underground Utility Line Protection Act, which governs the Pennsylvania One Call System.

PA One Call is the communications system established to promote safety and prevent damage to underground utilities.

This legislation transfers enforcement authority from the Department of Labor and Industry to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC), which is consistent with the PUC’s current regulatory obligations and with recommendations by the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Governor’s Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force.

The legislation also removes excavation work exemptions for extracting natural resources, minor routine maintenance by political subdivisions, routine maintenance and removal of sediment buildup on public road right-of-ways. Therefore all facility owners and their contractors must participate, including those for Class 1 gathering pipelines, which will ensure that the Commonwealth continues to receive certain federal safety grants.

It also provides for mapping of lines and facilities moving forward, establishes a damage prevention committee, places additional duties on facility owners, excavators and project owners, and provides for assessments, fees and penalties.

Finally, this legislation extends the sunset date of the Act from December 31, 2017 to December 31, 2022.

There are more than 6,000 hits every year, with approximately half involving natural gas lines, because facility owners do not join PA One Call, excavators do not call, lines are mismarked or unmarked and infrastructure owners do not respond to requests. All of these instances jeopardize public safety, place workers at risk, compromise infrastructure, trigger outages, generate environmental hazards and cost consumers, businesses, and utilities time and money. Preventing this unnecessary damage will increase public safety and reduce costs.

This bill was introduced last session as Senate Bill 1235 and was passed by the Senate but was gutted and replaced only with a sunset date extension before being approved by the House, concurred in and signed into law by the Governor as Act 160. Sponsors of that bill were Senators Tomlinson, Bartolotta, Greenleaf, Scavello, Reschenthaler, Rafferty, Vulakovich and Brewster.

Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as SB242