Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Senate Committee Reports Out Pipeline Safety, Construction Bills

The Senate Consumer Affairs and Professional Licensure Committee Tuesday approved and reported out several bills related to pipeline safety and construction.  They include--
-- Senate Bill 835 (Dinniman-D-Chester) requiring the registration of land agents working for pipeline companies (sponsor summary);
--  Senate Bill 930 (Dinniman-D-Chester) sets notification requirements related to pipeline emergencies (sponsor summary); and
--  Senate Bill 931 (Dinniman-D-Chester) requires the installation of automatic or remote controlled safety values in natural gas pipelines in densely populated areas (amended to refer to value locations required by federal regulations).
“We want to see the profit and prosperity that comes from Marcellus Shale gas but we want it to be done safely. We don’t want to hurt our partners in the west and middle parts of the state and we ask them not hurt us,” said Sen. Andy Dinniman (D-Chester). “What has happened is that Sunoco  as a company [Mariner East 1 & 2 Pipelines] has been arrogant and treated our population in a very negative way. All these bills do is create some type of regulatory infrastructure. This is not an anti-Marcellus shale bill; almost every other state in the union has some form of these regulations. Why shouldn’t we have safety valves? Why shouldn’t we license real estate agents? Why shouldn’t we share information with emergency personnel?”
“We have a number of pipelines that travel through Chester County and the southeast. The only one we have had an issue with is Sunoco [Mariner East 1 & 2 Pipelines]. They have been very arrogant,” said Sen. John Rafferty (R-Montgomery).  “They have not spoken to the townships, they haven’t spoken to us, they haven’t spoken to neighbors,” he stated. “We are trying to get a handle on Sunoco going forward to ensure that it’s managed properly and there is proper oversight.”
On March 20 the Committee held an extensive public hearing on pipeline safety reviewing the state’s authority to regulate pipelines and the steps and missteps taken to deal with a variety of issues related to the Sunoco Mariner East 1 and 2 Pipelines in Chester County and other areas.
The bills are now on the Senate Calendar for action.
Sen. Tommy Tomlinson (R-Bucks) serves as Majority Chair of the Consumer Affairs Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-787-5072 or sending email to: rtomlinson@pasen.gov.  Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Lehigh) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-787-4236 or sending email to: boscola@pasenate.com.
(Based in part on reporting by PA Legislative Services.)

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