Code Section Group

Public Utilities Code - PUC

DIVISION 4. LAWS RELATING TO UTILITY CORPORATIONS AND THEIR EMPLOYEES [7503 - 8286]

  ( Division 4 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764. )

CHAPTER 1. Railroad Corporations [7503 - 7727]

  ( Chapter 1 enacted by Stats. 1951, Ch. 764. )

ARTICLE 10. Railroad Safety and Emergency Planning and Response [7710 - 7727]
  ( Article 10 added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 766, Sec. 7. )

7710.
  

For purposes of this article, the following definitions shall apply:

(a) “Commission” shall mean the Public Utilities Commission.

(b) “Fund” means the Rail Accident Prevention and Response Fund created pursuant to Section 7713.

(c) “Prevention account” means the Hazardous Spill Prevention Account created, pursuant to Section 7714, in the Railroad Accident Prevention and Response Fund.

(d) “Secretary” means the Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency.

(Amended by Stats. 2010, Ch. 618, Sec. 288. (AB 2791) Effective January 1, 2011.)

7711.1.
  

The commission shall collect and analyze near-miss data generated from incidents occurring at railroad crossings and along the rail right-of-way. For purposes of this section, “near-miss” includes a runaway train or any other uncontrolled train movement that threatens public health and safety reported to the commission pursuant to Section 7661.

(Added by Stats. 2006, Ch. 885, Sec. 6. Effective September 30, 2006.)

7712.
  

On or before January 1, 1993, the commission shall adopt regulations, based on its findings and not inconsistent with federal law. The commission may amend or revise the regulations as necessary thereafter, to reduce the potential railroad hazards identified in Section 916.2. In adopting the regulations, the commission shall consider at least all of the following:

(a) Establishing special railroad equipment standards for trains operated on railroad sites identified as posing a local safety hazard pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 916.2. These standards may include, but need not be limited to, standards for all of the following:

(1) Sizes, numbers, and configurations of locomotives.

(2) Brakes.

(b) Establishing special train operating standards for trains operated over railroad sites identified as posing a local safety hazard pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 916.2. These standards may include, but need not be limited to, standards for all of the following:

(1) Length, weight, and weight distribution of trains.

(2) Speeds and accelerations of trains.

(3) Hours of allowable travel.

(c) Establishing special training, personnel, and performance standards for operators of trains that travel on railroad sites identified as posing a local safety hazard pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 916.2.

(d) Establishing special inspection and reporting standards for trains operated on railroad sites identified as posing a local safety hazard pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 916.2.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 612, Sec. 68. (SB 697) Effective January 1, 2016.)

7713.
  

(a) The Rail Accident Prevention and Response Fund is hereby created in the State Treasury, and the money in the fund is available for appropriation by the Legislature. The secretary shall administer the fund and the prevention account in accordance with this article, and shall develop and adopt regulations and guidelines necessary to carry out and enforce this article.

(b) The State Board of Equalization shall implement the collection of the fee imposed pursuant to Section 7714.5 in accordance with regulations adopted pursuant to Section 7713.

(c) The adoption of regulations pursuant to this section shall be considered by the Office of Administrative Law as an emergency necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety, and general welfare. Notwithstanding Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, emergency regulations adopted by the secretary and the State Board of Equalization pursuant to this section shall be filed with, but not repealed by, the Office of Administrative Law, and shall remain in effect until revised or repealed by the secretary.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 766, Sec. 7.)

7714.
  

(a) The Hazardous Spill Prevention Account in the Railroad Accident Prevention and Response Fund is hereby created. The moneys deposited in the prevention account shall be subject to annual appropriation in the Budget Act or other appropriation by the Legislature. The amount deposited in the prevention account and available for appropriation shall not exceed three million dollars ($3,000,000) in any calendar year.

(b) The moneys in the prevention account may be expended by the secretary for any of the following purposes:

(1) Creation, support, and maintenance of the Railroad Accident Prevention and Immediate Deployment Force created by subdivision (a) of Section 7718.

(2) Creation, support, maintenance, and implementation of the state railroad accident prevention and immediate deployment plan developed pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 7718.

(3) Creation, support, and maintenance of programs, data registries, equipment, and facilities to respond to, and contain, toxic releases resulting from surface transportation accidents. Expenditures pursuant to this paragraph may be for the purpose of any of the following:

(A) Acquisition and maintenance of specialized equipment and supplies.

(B) Support of specialized facilities.

(C) Creation and support of a state-level and local toxic emergency response teams to provide immediate onsite response capability in the event of large scale releases of toxic substances resulting from surface transportation accidents.

(4) Support for specialized training for state and local emergency response officials in techniques for prevention of, and response to, toxic releases resulting from surface transportation accidents.

(5) Support for research, data collection, and studies into technologies and techniques for prevention of, response to, and mitigation of, toxic releases resulting from surface transportation accidents.

(6) To provide economic assistance to persons, entities, and communities that suffer direct or indirect economic damages from a surface transportation accident.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 766, Sec. 7.)

7714.5.
  

(a)  In accordance with regulations adopted pursuant to Section 7713, the secretary shall establish a fee schedule, which shall be paid by each surface transporter of hazardous materials in California in an amount sufficient to fund the appropriation from the prevention account and to maintain a prudent reserve of two months’ operating costs, less amounts transferred from the response account pursuant to subdivision (d).

(b) The secretary shall, to the extent practicable, identify programs, equipment, and facilities applicable to specific surface transportation modes, and shall establish fees for each surface transportation mode to cover the costs of the programs, equipment, and facilities applicable to that specific surface transportation mode. Fees to cover the costs of programs, equipment, and facilities applicable to all or several surface transportation modes shall be paid in equal shares by surface transportation modes.

(c) The secretary may authorize payment of fees through contributions in kind of equipment, materials, or services.

(d) For the purposes of the fees authorized by this section, “surface transportation mode” shall not include pipelines subject to the fee assessed pursuant to Section 51019 of the Government Code or any natural gas pipeline.

(e) This section shall become inoperative on December 31, 1995.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 766, Sec. 7. Inoperative December 31, 1995, by its own provisions.)

7718.
  

(a) The Railroad Accident Prevention and Immediate Deployment Force is hereby created in the California Environmental Protection Agency. The force shall be responsible for providing immediate onsite response capability in the event of large-scale releases of toxic materials resulting from surface transportation accidents and for implementing the state hazardous materials incident prevention and immediate deployment plan. This force shall act cooperatively and in concert with existing local emergency response units. The force shall consist of representatives of all of the following:

(1) Department of Fish and Game.

(2) California Environmental Protection Agency.

(3) State Air Resources Board.

(4) California Integrated Waste Management Board.

(5) California regional water quality control boards.

(6) Department of Toxic Substances Control.

(7) Department of Pesticide Regulation.

(8) Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

(9) State Department of Public Health.

(10) Department of the California Highway Patrol.

(11) Department of Food and Agriculture.

(12) Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

(13) Department of Parks and Recreation.

(14) Public Utilities Commission.

(15) Any other potentially affected state, local, or federal agency.

(16) Office of Emergency Services.

(b) The California Environmental Protection Agency shall develop a state railroad accident prevention and immediate deployment plan in cooperation with the State Fire Marshal, affected businesses, and all of the entities listed in paragraphs (1) to (17), inclusive, of subdivision (a).

(c) The plan specified in subdivision (b) shall be a comprehensive set of policies and directions that every potentially affected state agency and business shall follow if there is a railroad accident to minimize the potential damage to the public health and safety, property, and the environment that might result from accidents involving railroad activities in the state.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 352, Sec. 506. (AB 1317) Effective September 26, 2013. Operative July 1, 2013, by Sec. 543 of Ch. 352.)

7720.
  

(a) (1) When an appropriate prosecuting agency determines that any person has engaged in, is engaging in, or is about to engage in, any acts or practices which constitute, or which shall constitute, a violation of any provision of this chapter or of any rule, regulation, permit, covenant, standard, requirement, or order issued, promulgated, or executed pursuant to this chapter, the city attorney or district attorney of the jurisdiction in which these acts or practices have occurred, are occurring, or shall occur, or the Attorney General, may make application to the superior court or to the commission for an order enjoining these acts or practices or an order directing compliance with this chapter.

(2) A temporary restraining order, preliminary or permanent injunction, or other order may be issued under this subdivision upon a showing that any person has engaged in, is engaging in, or is about to engage in, the acts or practices set forth in paragraph (1).

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in any civil action brought pursuant to this chapter in which a temporary restraining order, or preliminary or permanent injunction is sought, it shall not be necessary for the moving party to allege or prove either of the factors set forth in paragraphs (1) and (2) at any stage of the proceeding. The temporary restraining order or preliminary or permanent injunction may issue without allegations or proof of either of the following factors:

(1) That irreparable damage shall occur should the relief sought not be granted.

(2) That the remedy at law is inadequate.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 766, Sec. 7.)

7721.
  

Every civil action commenced pursuant to this article for civil or criminal penalties authorized by this article shall be brought by the city attorney, the district attorney, or the Attorney General in the name of the people of the State of California, and any actions relating to the same event, transaction, or occurrence may be joined or consolidated, or may be coordinated pursuant to Section 404 of the Code of Civil Procedure or Division II (commencing with Rule 1501) of Title Four of the California Rules of Court.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 766, Sec. 7.)

7722.
  

Any civil action brought in the superior court pursuant to this article shall be brought in the county in which the spill, discharge, or violation occurred, the county in which the principal place of business of the defendant is located, or the county in which the defendant is doing business in this state.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 766, Sec. 7.)

7723.
  

The civil and criminal penalties provided in this article are separate and in addition to, and do not supersede or limit, any other civil or criminal remedy.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 766, Sec. 7.)

7724.
  

(a) Any person who commits any of the following acts, shall, upon conviction, be punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for 16, 24, or 36 months:

(1)  Except as provided by Section 7724.1, knowingly fails to follow the direction or order of the secretary or the commission arising from a rail accident or release of a hazardous or potentially hazardous commodity from a railcar.

(2) Knowingly causes, or aids or abets in, the discharge or spill of, a hazardous or potentially hazardous commodity from a railcar, unless the discharge is authorized by the United States, the state, or another agency with appropriate jurisdiction.

(3) Knowingly fails to comply with the regulations adopted pursuant to Section 7712, and that failure results in a rail accident or release of hazardous material or creates a significant risk of accident or release of hazardous material.

(b) The court shall also impose upon a person convicted of violating subdivision (a), a fine not to exceed five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) for each violation. For purposes of this subdivision, each day or partial day that a violation occurs is a separate violation.

(c) The court shall also impose upon a person convicted of violating paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), a fine equal to twice the cost of abating, repairing, and responding to the cost associated with the illegal discharge of a hazardous or potentially hazardous commodity from a railcar as a result of a rail accident.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 15, Sec. 562. (AB 109) Effective April 4, 2011. Operative October 1, 2011, by Sec. 636 of Ch. 15, as amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 39, Sec. 68.)

7724.1.
  

(a) If a person reasonably, and in good faith, believes that the directions or orders given by the secretary or the commission would substantially endanger the public safety or the environment, the person may refuse to act in compliance with the orders or directions of the secretary or the commission. The person shall state, at the time of the refusal, the reasons why the person refuses to follow the orders or directions of the secretary or the commission. The person shall give the secretary or the commission written notice of the reasons for the refusal within 48 hours of refusing to follow the orders or directions of the secretary or the commission.

(b) In any civil or criminal proceeding commenced pursuant to Section 7724, the burden of proof shall be on the responsible party or potentially responsible party to demonstrate, by clear and convincing evidence, why the refusal to follow the orders or directions of the secretary or the commission was justified under the circumstances.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 766, Sec. 7.)

7724.5.
  

(a) Any person who commits any of the acts set forth in paragraphs (1) to (3), inclusive, shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for each violation of a separate provision or, for a continuing violation, for each day that violation occurs:

(1) Negligent failure to follow the direction or order of the secretary in connection with a rail accident or the release of a hazardous commodity from a railcar.

(2) Knowingly engaging in, or causing the discharge or spill of a hazardous commodity from a railcar or highway carrier, unless that discharge is authorized by the United States, by the state, or by another governmental agency with appropriate jurisdiction.

(3) Negligent failure to comply with any regulation adopted pursuant to Section 7712.

(b) Any person who commits any of the acts set forth in paragraphs (1) to (3), inclusive, shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for each violation of a separate provision or, for a continuing violation, for each day that violation occurs:

(1) Failure to follow the direction or order of the secretary in connection with a rail accident or the release of a hazardous commodity from a railcar.

(2) Engaging in, or causing the discharge or spill of a hazardous commodity from a railcar or highway carrier, unless that discharge is authorized by the United States, by the state, or by another governmental agency with appropriate jurisdiction.

(3) Failure to comply with any regulation adopted pursuant to Section 7712.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 766, Sec. 7.)

7725.
  

Twenty-five percent of penalties and fines collected pursuant to any action brought under Sections 7724 and 7724.5 shall be paid to the governmental agency or office which prosecutes the action. The remainder of the penalties and fines collected pursuant to this article shall be deposited into the fund.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 766, Sec. 7.)

7726.
  

(a) When the secretary or the commission determines that any person has engaged in, is engaged in, or threatens to engage in, any practice or act which constitutes a violation of this article, or any regulation or order issued, adopted, or executed pursuant to this article, the secretary or commission may issue an order requiring that person to cease and desist.

(b) Any cease and desist order issued by the secretary or commission may be subject to such terms and conditions as the secretary or commission may determine are necessary to ensure compliance with this article.

(c) Any cease and desist order issued by the secretary or commission shall become null and void 90 days after issuance.

(d) A cease and desist order issued by the secretary or commission shall be effective upon the issuance thereof, and copies shall be served immediately by certified mail upon the person or governmental agency being charged with the actual or threatened violation.

(e) The commission may authorize its executive director to exercise the commission’s authority to issue cease and desist orders pursuant to this section.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 766, Sec. 7.)

7727.
  

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, this chapter shall not be construed to make a reference to the California Environmental Protection Agency for the purposes of compliance with Provision 2 of Item 3400-002-044 of Section 2. 00 of the Budget Act of 1991.

(Added by Stats. 1991, Ch. 766, Sec. 7.)

PUCPublic Utilities Code - PUC10