In This Issue

Washington State Enacts More Stringent Pipeline Control Measures

OLYMPIA, Washington – On April 20, 2007, Governor Chris Gregoire signed the first major revision to Washington’s pipeline safety act since 2001.

Substitute Senate Bill 5225 passed in the House 98-0, and in the Senate 48-0.

The law, which takes effect in July, will:

  • Increase the maximum penalties for pipeline safety violations from $25,000 to $100,000 per day. That brings the state’s penalties in line with federal law.
  • Defines “gas” in a way so that the state agency can regulate hydrogen and acid gas pipelines.
  • Extends state pipeline safety regulation over publicly owned small pipeline systems called “master meters” that are subject only to federal pipeline safety rules.
  • Gives the UTC regulatory authority over propane pipeline distribution systems even if the agency does not have rate-setting authority over the propane system.
  • Eliminates obsolete references and unused definitions in existing laws.
  • Consolidates all pipeline safety authority under one law instead of several.

Under state law, the Utilities and Transportation Commission can levy a civil penalty of $25,000 per violation up to a maximum $500,000 for a series of violations. The current federal penalty is $100,000 per violation up to $1 million for a series of violations.

For a copy of this Bill, contact Jessica Roger.