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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: December 11, 2018 09:13 AM
From: Senator Andrew E. Dinniman and Sen. Thomas H. Killion
To: All Senate members
Subject: Pipeline Safety Valves
We will soon introduce SB 931 of last session, legislation favorably voted out of Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee on April 24, 2018 but not considered by the full Senate prior to the end of the 2017-18 Legislative Session. This legislation will ensure new natural gas pipeline construction in densely populated regions include automatic or remote-control safety valves to protect the public in the event of a catastrophic release.

As natural gas and natural gas liquid pipelines are constructed in Pennsylvania they frequently impact highly developed communities and may come within direct proximity to schools, churches, hospitals, or residential neighborhoods. Federal regulations define these populated regions as ‘high consequence areas’ and extra safety precautions are often required to protect life and property in such areas. Currently, many existing pipelines rely on manual safety valves that require on site coordination in order to stop the escape of natural gas or natural gas liquids. The time it takes for a manual safety valve to be activated following the identification of leak could result in significant harm to the community. With this in mind, automatic or remote shutoff valves greatly reduce this risk and provide additional protection for those living or working near pipelines.

This legislation will help protect the public by incorporating automatic or remote shutoff valves on pipelines that impact high consequence areas throughout Pennsylvania. Specifically, this bill will require that public utility pipelines transporting natural gas or natural gas liquids through high consequence areas install automatic or remote shutoff valves at the following locations:

1. Within 100 feet of each municipal boundary crossed by the facility; and,
2. Within 100 feet of the facility’s entry and exist of a high consequence area.

In addition, this legislation will require public utility pipelines test the reliability of shutoff valves annually and provide the results of these tests to the local municipality. In the event of a pipeline leak, seconds count. We hope you will join me in sponsoring this legislation to provide additional protection for Pennsylvania citizens who live or travel through populated areas and help ensure pipeline companies can respond quickly and safely upon detecting a leak.

Co-sponsors of SB 931 last session included Senators Costa, Rafferty, Folmer, Mensch, Killion and McGarrigle.

Introduced as SB263