Support to Regulate Unregulated Gathering Lines in PA Grows

regulationLast month MDN wrote a post outlining an initiative to begin regulating small, low-pressure gathering pipelines–something not now done (see PIOGA Opposes Bill to Regulate Unregulated PA Gathering Pipelines). Media articles about this issue misstate and obfuscate, purposely, what is happening. Senate Bill (SB) 1235 would “enhance” the existing 811 law in PA. (811 is the number you call before you dig, to be sure there are no buried pipelines or electric lines or other underground structures.) One of the “enhancements” in SB 1235 is that it removes an exclusion for low-pressure natural gas gathering pipelines from being required to be part of the 811 system. Many owners of excluded lines voluntarily participate in the programs. The bill would also transfer regulatory enforcement power over the lines from the Department of Labor to the Public Utility Commission. The Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association (PIOGA) pushed back against the removal of the exclusion for conventional production lines and rural (“Class 1” under federal law) gathering lines. PIOGA is not against knowing where pipeline are buried and protecting PA citizens–they ARE against onerous new regulations on those pipelines, which would have happened under the proposed SB 1235. PIOGA instead pushed for another year to sort out the issue, instead of passing SB 1235 as/is and throwing the conventional oil and gas industry into regulatory chaos. PIOGA won (see PA Bill to Regulate Unregulated Gathering Pipelines Fails). However, the oil and gas industry is divided on the issue. Several industry reps participated in a pipeline safety hearing yesterday at the State Capitol in Harrisburg–and voiced their support for the provisions in the defeated SB 1235…

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