In This Issue

TRRC Adopts Amended Rules Relating to Penalty Guidelines for Pipeline Safety Violations

[GUD Docket No. 10131 and 10130]

The Railroad Commission of Texas (TRRC) adopted amended rules to l6 TAC §8.135 and §18.12 adding guidelines for administrative penalties for pipeline safety violations. This rulemaking is part of a larger effort to align all TRRC penalty guidelines, and includes corresponding changes in oil and gas, liquefied petroleum gas, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and underground pipeline damage prevention penalty guidelines. Some of the increased penalties and new additions from 16 TAC §8.135(e) “Table 1. Typical Penalties” are outlined below:

RulesGuideline Penalty Amount
Increases to guideline penalty amounts for violation of pipeline permits (§3.70) and Organization Report (§8.51)From $1,000 to $5,000
Addition of line entries for §8.206 relating to Risk Based Leak Survey Program$5,000
Addition of line entries for §8.207 relating to Leak Grading & Repair$5,000
Addition of line entries for §8.208 relating to Mandatory Removal & Replacement Program$5,000
Addition of line entries for §8.209 relating to Distribution Facilities Replacements$5,000
Increase in the penalty guideline amount for violation of §8.215 relating to Odorization of GasFrom $5,000 to $10,000
Addition of line entries for violations related to requirements for corrosion control, maintenance, and gas distribution integrity management requirements$5,000
Increase in penalty guideline amounts for violations related to qualification of pipeline personnel and public awareness$5,000
Increase in amounts for violations for §8.230 and §8.235for violations related to pipeline facilities located within 1,000′ of a public school building or recreational area.$5,000

In addition, for violations in which the person charged has a history of prior violations within 7 years of the current enforcement action, they could face a penalty of up to 5 times the penalty amount.

The TRRC also adopted a new subsection 16 TAC §18.12(e) for typical penalties relating to excavation in the vicinity of an underground pipelines. These penalties include the failure to:

  • refresh an expired locate ticket
  • plan excavation to avoid damage or take reasonable steps to protect pipelines
  • confirm valid locate ticket
  • notify notification center for excavation activity after an emergency notice and the emergency condition ceased to exist
  • record and/or retain protocol agreement, and
  • failure of excavator to report pipeline damage to the operator.

These amended rules are effective August 27, 2012.

For a copy of these TRRC Amended Rules , contact Jessica Roger.