Thursday, July 15, 2021

PUC To Seek Public Comment On Enhancements To Regulation Covering Petroleum & Hazardous Liquids Pipelines

On July 15, the Public Utility Commission adopted a
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding regulations related to the pipeline transport of petroleum products and hazardous liquids in intrastate commerce – seeking public comment on proposed amendments to existing regulations along with the addition of new regulations.

The Commission voted 4-0 to formally open the rulemaking process and seek public comment on the NOPR when formally published in the PA Bulletin. 

Additionally, the NOPR will be submitted to the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General for review as to form and legality, and to the Governor’s Budget Office for review of fiscal impact. 

The NOPR will also be submitted to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission and Legislative Standing Committees, published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, posted on the PUC’s website, and served on all jurisdictional hazardous liquids public utilities; the Office of Consumer Advocate; the Office of Small Business Advocate; and the Commission’s independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement.

Pipeline Safety Rulemaking

The action by the Commission is the latest step forward in a comprehensive process to explore and address pipeline safety regulations in Pennsylvania

The proposed rulemaking initiated today follows the PUC review and analysis of more than 90 comments, ranging in size from one-page resolutions to submissions that spanned hundreds of pages of documentation.  

Public input also included comments from community advocates and citizens’ organizations, along with local governments, industry affiliates, members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and concerned citizens.  

The proposed rulemaking would create a new heading within Chapter 59 of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s regulations (52 Pa. Code) to encompass “Hazardous Liquid Public Utility Safety Standards.” 

The new sections for hazardous liquids utilities include the following:

-- Accident reporting

-- Construction, operation and maintenance, and other reports

-- Design requirements

-- Construction

-- Horizontal directional drilling and trenchless technology

-- Pressure testing

-- Operation and maintenance

-- Qualification of pipeline personnel

-- Land agents

-- Corrosion control

Additionally, the proposed rulemaking would revise the existing “Service and Facilities” heading for certain sections of Chapter 59 (59.11 through 59.38) to clarify that those sections are applicable only to natural gas public utilities – addressing matters related to hazardous liquids public utility service in the newly created sections of the regulations.

Commenting on the Proposed Rulemaking

Interested parties may submit written comments within 60 days from the date the NOPR is published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, and reply comments should be submitted within 30 days of the initial comment period. 

Comments shall be submitted via the PUC’s efiling system, referencing Docket No. L-2019-3010267. All filings are to be made by e-filing or by electronic mail.  

Information about creating a free PUC efiling account and accessing the efiling system is available on the Commission’s website.

(Photo: Site of Revolution Pipeline explosion in September 2018.)

[Posted: July 15, 2021] 
PA Environment Digest

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