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SB21-108

Public Utilities Commission Gas Utility Safety Inspection Authority

Concerning gas pipeline safety, and, in connection therewith, increasing and clarifying the rule-making and enforcement authority of the public utilities commission, and making an appropriation.
Session:
2021 Regular Session
Subjects:
Energy
State Government
Bill Summary

Section 1 of the bill declares that, due to recent dramatic increases in both the extraction and transportation of natural gas and the construction of new homes and businesses in close proximity to these activities, it is appropriate to consolidate, strengthen, and streamline the safety regulations that apply to natural gas pipeline utilities.Section 2 updates and clarifies the duty of the public utilities commission (PUC) to collaborate with the United States department of transportation (DOT) on pipeline safety issues by:

  • Formally accepting responsibility to enforce DOT pipeline safety rules; and
  • Adopting rules at the state level as needed to comply with federal requirements. The PUC's rules may be more stringent than required by federal standards in specified areas.

Section 3 amends existing penalty provisions for pipeline safety violations by:

  • Increasing the penalty cap from $100,000 per violation to $200,000, and increasing the aggregate total from $1 million to $2 million;
  • Allowing the PUC to recover court costs if it must sue to recover any penalty assessed against a violator; and
  • Requiring any compromise of a penalty to be based on objective metrics and factors, including the severity of the violation, the extent to which the violator has remedied the conditions that led to the violation, and the amount the violator agrees to spend on approved measures to reduce future risk. Any such compromise may not reduce the amount payable as a penalty below $5,000 per violation.
    (Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)

Status

Introduced
Passed
Became Law

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Bill Text

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