|Posted:||December 11, 2018 09:37 AM|
|From:||Senator Thomas H. Killion and Sen. Andrew E. Dinniman|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Pipeline Safety Inspection|
|In the near future, we will be introducing legislation aimed at improving pipeline safety inspection in Pennsylvania.
The bill accomplishes two objectives. First, it would centralize pipeline safety inspection within the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Pennsylvania’s lateral regulatory agency to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation. 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.
While the Public Utility Commission (PUC) staff currently charged with conducting safety inspections of Pennsylvania’s intrastate pipelines do an admirable job, our view is that PennDOT is better suited to oversee this type of public safety stewardship.
Interstate Agent status for safety inspection of interstate pipelines would provide a number of benefits to Pennsylvania. Most importantly, inspection agents located on the ground in Pennsylvania would develop better working relationships with our local emergency services providers. Even the most professional and dedicated federal regulator cannot duplicate the ability of Pennsylvania inspectors to coordinate with our front line responders. Further, this would provide standardization in spill response planning. There should be no difference in such planning simply because a pipeline is interstate as opposed to intrastate.
Eight states currently serve as PHMSA designated Interstate Agents: Arizona, Connecticut, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Washington. PHMSA already reimburses most of Pennsylvania’s inspection costs for intrastate pipelines. Reimbursement is also available for interstate inspection
This legislation will be similar to SB 604 of the 2017-2018 Legislative Session which was introduced by Senator Rafferty and was co-sponsored by the following Senators: Dinniman, Mensch, Leach and Killion.
Please join us in co-sponsoring this important legislation.