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Pickett Supports Pipeline Safety Bill

Legislation gives PUC authority for gathering line inspection, safety 

Legislation that would give authority of natural gas gathering lines and their safety to the Public Utility Commission (PUC) passed the state House today, said Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna), a leading co-sponsor of the measure. 

“As it currently stands, there is no specific state agency charged with regulatory and safety oversight of these types of pipelines, unless they are deemed to be a public utility,” said Pickett. “Most pipelines that are not owned by a public utility fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government, but because of the rapid development in the Marcellus Shale, we must have an state agency to deal with the gathering lines being put in place to transport gas here in Pennsylvania. Safety is our top priority.” 

House Bill 344 would stipulate that the PUC can conduct safety inspections and investigations of natural gas pipelines in coordination with federal law. That involves investigations relating to pipeline operators, facilities and reports of safety-related conditions regarding pipeline facilities. 

The bill also would create a registry of all gas and hazardous liquid pipeline operators and develop an application for registration.  

“This legislation emphasizes that safety standards will be among the foremost concerns of the PUC’s oversight of gathering lines,” Pickett said. 

Violations of the law would result in a fine of up to $100,000 for each violation each day that the violation persists. The maximum penalty would be set at $1 million. 

The legislation now goes to the state Senate for consideration. 

State Representative Tina Pickett
110th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Jennifer Keaton

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