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AB-1937 Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 2011: school and hospital notification of nonemergency excavation or construction of gas pipelines.(2013-2014)

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Assembly Bill No. 1937
CHAPTER 287

An act to add Section 955.5 to the Public Utilities Code, relating to natural gas.

[ Approved by Governor  August 25, 2014. Filed with Secretary of State  August 25, 2014. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1937, Gordon. Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 2011: school and hospital notification of nonemergency excavation or construction of gas pipelines.
(1) Existing federal law requires the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) within the United States Department of Transportation, to adopt minimum safety standards for pipeline transportation and for pipeline facilities, including an interstate gas pipeline facility and intrastate gas pipeline facility, as defined. Existing law authorizes the United States Secretary of Transportation to prescribe or enforce safety standards and practices for an intrastate pipeline facility or intrastate pipeline transportation to the extent that the safety standards and practices are regulated by a state authority that submits to the secretary annually a certification for the facilities and transportation. Existing law authorizes a state authority that has submitted a current certification to adopt additional or more stringent safety standards for intrastate pipeline facilities and intrastate pipeline transportation only if those standards are compatible with the minimum standards prescribed by the PHMSA.
The Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 2011, within the Public Utilities Act, designates the Public Utilities Commission as the state authority responsible for regulating and enforcing intrastate gas pipeline transportation and pipeline facilities pursuant to federal law, including the development, submission, and administration of a state pipeline safety program certification for natural gas pipelines. The act requires the commission, by July 1, 2012, to open an appropriate proceeding or expand the scope of an existing proceeding to establish compatible emergency response standards that owners or operators of certain commission-regulated gas pipeline facilities would be required to follow. The standards require owners or operators of intrastate transmission and distribution lines to implement emergency response plans that are compatible with PHMSA’s regulations concerning emergency plans.
This bill would require a gas corporation to provide not less than 3 working days’ notice, as specified, to the administration of a school or hospital prior to undertaking nonemergency excavation or construction of a gas pipeline when the work is located within 500 feet of the school or hospital. The bill would require the gas corporation to maintain a record of the date and time of any notification provided to the administration of a school or hospital prior to undertaking nonemergency excavation or construction of a gas pipeline and any subsequent contacts with the administration of a school or hospital relative to the excavation or construction and the actions taken, if any, in response to those subsequent contacts, and would require the records to be maintained and available for inspection for no less than 5 years from that date of notification.
(2) Under existing law, a violation of the Public Utilities Act or any order, decision, rule, direction, demand, or requirement of the commission is a crime.
Because the requirements of this bill are within the act, a violation of these requirements would impose a state-mandated local program by creating a new crime.
(3) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 955.5 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

955.5.
 (a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Gas pipeline” means an intrastate distribution line as described in paragraph (1) of, or an intrastate transmission line as described in paragraph (2) of, Section 950.
(2) “Hospital” means a licensed general acute care hospital as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 1250 of the Health and Safety Code.
(3) “School” means a public or private preschool, elementary, or secondary school.
(b) A gas corporation shall provide not less than three working days’ notice to the administration of a school or hospital prior to undertaking nonemergency excavation or construction of a gas pipeline if the work is located within 500 feet of the school or hospital. The notification shall include all of the following:
(1) The name, address, telephone number, and emergency contact information for the gas corporation.
(2) The specific location of the gas pipeline where the excavation or construction will be performed.
(3) The date and time the excavation or construction is to be conducted and when the work is expected to be completed.
(4) An invitation and a telephone number to call for further information on what the school or hospital should do in the event of a leak.
(c) The gas corporation shall maintain a record of the date and time of any notification provided to the administration of a school or hospital prior to undertaking nonemergency excavation or construction of a gas pipeline and any subsequent contacts with the administration of a school or hospital relative to the excavation or construction and the actions taken, if any, in response to those subsequent contacts. The gas corporation shall maintain these records and make them available for inspection for no less than five years from the date of the notification.

SEC. 2.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.