Academic journal article Energy Law Journal

Report of the Legislation and Regulatory Reform Committee

Academic journal article Energy Law Journal

Report of the Legislation and Regulatory Reform Committee

Article excerpt


During the 2002 calendar year, the House and Senate passed their respective, but widely different, versions of comprehensive energy legislation. While there was much promise, only a few items have actually become law. Legislative initiatives on the Alaska natural gas pipeline, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, federal and state electric transmission coordination, Public Utility Holding Co. Act (PUHCA), and Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA) repeal, and hydro power licensing, to name only a few, did not move to completion. The following is a summary of significant new energy related laws.


On November 15, 2002, Congress passed H.R. 3609, the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002.1 On December 17, 2002, the President signed the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 20022 (the Safety Act). The Safety Act amends existing pipeline safety statutes.3 The Safety Act imposes additional safety compliance and inspection requirements on interstate natural gas or hazardous liquid (petroleum or petroleum products) pipeline facilities located in high population density areas. Certain Safety Act provisions also apply to gathering facilities in populated areas, intrastate pipelines, and local distribution companies. The Safety Act requires the Secretary of Transportation to issue regulations and standards addressing implementation of the programs, inspections, tests, deadlines, and criteria established by the Safety Act. Each of the additional requirements imposed by the Safety Act contain compliance deadlines.

The Safety Act requires certain pipeline operators to assess risks associated with pipelines in high population density areas; e.g., integrity assessments that must be completed pursuant to timelines set forth in the Safety Act; and to implement written integrity management programs for such facilities. The Safety Act contains whistleblower, civil penalty, operator qualification, one-call, and national pipeline mapping system provisions, as well as other provisions requiring inter-agency review and coordination on permitting, standardization, and land use issues.

The Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS), Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA), and Department of Transportation (DOT), issued proposed regulations under the Safety Act that were published in the Federal Register on January 28, 2003. …

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