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Pipeline Safety Bill Advances to Governor, Pickett Reports
12/15/2011
HARRISBURG – Legislation that will help protect local communities by ensuring the safety of natural gas lines is on its way to the governor to be signed into law, according to Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna), a major co-sponsor of the proposal.

House Bill 344 permits the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to have regulatory oversight of natural gas lines.

“Currently, Pennsylvania is one of a very few states that produce natural gas that does not give the authority of gas lines to a state entity, and as a result, there is no designated agency to ensure compliance for a number of safety regulations,” Pickett said. “The influx of activity in the Marcellus Shale region and the increasing demand for this type of energy has necessitated action on this legislation, and I am pleased to see this bill finally moving to the governor.”

The legislation gives the PUC the power to inspect and investigate natural gas pipelines with the Commonwealth in coordination with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration.

In addition, the PUC will have the authority to hire more inspectors and to regulate the pipelines without having to deem them a public utility. This is important to protect the rights of private property owners.

“With this bill, Pennsylvania is following the lead of other natural gas producing states and we’ll be working together with federal agencies to ensure that proper protocols are in place regarding safety and regulatory oversight,” Pickett said. “When it coming to transporting natural gas from areas to larger, interstate pipelines to then be conveyed to the marketplace, every safety precaution must be in place. This legislation will ensure that we have the proper regulators in charge.”

In addition to safety groups like the Pennsylvania Consumer Advocate and the state fire commissioner, the proposal is supported by the PUC, the U.S. DOT, the Pennsylvania Landfill Association, the Pennsylvania Propane Association, the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, and the Associated Petroleum Industries of Pennsylvania.

State Representative Tina Pickett
110th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Jennifer Keaton
jkeaton@pahousegop.com
717.705.2094
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