United States. Congress. House. Committee on Publi.

Comprehensive One-Call Notification Act of 1994 : hearing before the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation of the Committee on Public Works and Transportation, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, second session, September 22, 1994 online

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This flexible approach to details is added throughout the proposed legislation in
Sections 5, 6, 7, and 8. The new language is greatly appreciated by state and local
government representatives because it provides state-by-state flexibility concerning
the manner and scope of several aspects, such as 24-hour coverage, contact
requirements, location, and marking of facilities. The new language clearly says
that an alternative state program is acceptable provided it is at least as protective of
public health, safety, and the environment.



In addition, the model program to be developed by the Department of
Transportation must be done in consultation with state and local governments.
This is a good operating principle for any federal program.



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I will now turn to a few points that state and local government representatives
believe should be changed in order to make this Act a model for other legislation in
this new era of severe fiscal constraint by all governments. There is also a new and
powerful resistance to new taxes and fees for more government until we can make
current taxes work better for existing programs.



All of you know these new realities better than I do. My request is that you think
of how your own town, city, or county would respond to the additional changes we
suggest for this needed legislation.



Recommended changes to the revised September 14 draft of an amendment in the
nature of a substitute to H.R. 4394 include the following.



Section 4, State Program

Drop Item (c) Compliance - the authorization for citizen suits should be dropped
because it is inconsistent with:

1 . Section 4, (a) Consideration

The voluntary nature of the language "each state shall consider whether to
adopt a comprehensive program."



2. Section 4, (d) Appropriateness

"Nothing in this Act prohibits a state from making a determination that it is not
appropriate to adopt a state program described in Section 5."



3. Section 7, (b) Alternative Form of State Program

Interpretations of separate federal and state criteria for one-call programs could
encourage frivolous citizen suits against the alternative state program.



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4. Recently, the Conference of State Chief Justices and the Judicial Conference of
the United States expressed their concerns about the flood of litigation by
citizens to enforce new rights. They said that many more disputes should be
handled through administrative proceedings and then, if necessary, in state
courts.



Section 5. Elements of State Programs

1. Drop the word "fair" in item (8) because it is very ambiguous. It could be
interpreted as a broad-based tax, and it sets the stage for a citizen suit "by any
person aggrieved."



2. Drop item (9) — "provide an opportunity for citizen suits to enforce the state
programs. Federal requirements for states to authorize citizen suits against their
own local governments go well beyond the desires of taxpayers in today's era
of fiscal constraint at all levels of government. Can you imagine the reverse?
Citizen suits are a new form of unfunded mandates. In this Act, citizen suits are
being supported and encouraged to force an undefined "fair and appropriate
schedule of fees."



Section 9, State Reports

Change (b) — the period for the Secretary of Transportation to distribute a
simplified form for reporting requirements — from three years to two years. States
should not be required to report within three years if they have not been given the
forms at least one year in advance.



These changes would make H.R. 4394 internally consistent, as well as set a new
example of federal, state, local, and private cooperation to better serve the citizens
in an atmosphere of trust and cooperation.



Once again, thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the committee for the
opportunity to testify.



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SUMMARY OF DAVID MCNtEL BEFORE THE HOUSE

PUBLIC WORKS AND TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE

SURFACE TRANSPORTATION SUBCOMMITTEE

SEPTEMBER 22, 1994

I am David McNiel. Vice President. Technical Services. Tenneco Gas. headquartered in
Houston, Texas. I am pleased to testify today on behalf of the Interstate Natural Gas
Association of America (INGAA) and the American Gas Association (A.GA) on a bill, H.R.
4394. introduced by Congressman Pallone dealing with nationwide one-call systems.

According to DOT data, outside forces or third party damage has caused over 60 percent
of the natural gas transmission and distribution incidents reported since 1970 and
nearly one -half of the fatalities. Unfortunately, few states require all excavators and all
underground facility operators to participate, nor do they provide for statewide coverage
or have an effective enforcement program.

INGAA and A.G.A. encourage Congress to pass one-call legislation this year. This
legislation should contain certain basic elements.

First, the Federal Government should review and revise the minimum standards they
have set for the establishment of one-call systems and permit states flexibility in
meeting these standards. The Department of Transportation should establish a model
that could be copied by states to create effective damage prevention programs. Ideally,
such a model should include the following:

a) All operators of underground facilities that are at risk of being struck by outside
excavators should be included in the program. Historically, underground facility
operators have found that it is more cost effective to participate in one-call
systems to prevent damage rather than having to repair facilities after the fact.

b) All excavators undertaking activities that could result in the striking of
underground facilities should be required to first call the one-call system (unless
the excavator and the facility operator are one in the same person and no other
underground facilities are threatened).

c) Enforcement should encourage contractor participation, punish failure to call and
strongly encourage excavators who strike facilities to promptly report such
damage. States should tailor their programs such that excavators are not fearful of
reporting when they accidentally strike facilities.

d) The model should include a public education component which DOT would
complement with its own effort.

Second, there should be a single easily remembered nationwide telephone number
dedicated to reporting planned excavations. This number does not have to replace
existing state numbers but can be a focal point for a nationwide public education
campaign.

As time is short this year, we recognize consensus will be necessary on this issue. I
pledge the continuing assistance of our industry to pass solid one-call legislation and
urge that Congress do so before you adjourn.



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TESTIMONY OF DAVID MCNB2L

ON BEHALF OF

THE INTERSTATE NATURAL GAS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA AND

THE AMERICAN GAS ASSOCIATION

BEFORE THE HOUSE

PUBLIC WORKS AND TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE

SURFACE TRANSPORTATION SUBCOMMITTEE

SEPTEMBER 22, 1994

Good morning, I am David McNiel, Vice President, Technical Services,
Tenneco Gas, headquartered in Houston, Texas. I am pleased to testify
today on behalf of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America
(INGAA) and the American Gas Association (A.GA.) on a bill, H.R. 4394,
introduced by Congressman Pallone dealing with nationwide one-call
systems.

INGAA is a non-profit national trade association representing the
interstate natural gas transmission companies operating in the United
States and Mexico, and the interprovincial pipelines in Canada. A.G.A. is
a national trade association comprising approximately 275 natural gas
distribution and transmission companies throughout the United States,
Canada and Mexico. Together our member companies transport and
deliver 90 percent of the nation's natural gas from the wellhead to the
bumertip through the nation's 280,000 miles of interstate transmission
pipelines and 1.5 million miles of distribution pipelines. Our members
serve over 56 million customers in the United States.

INGAA and A.G.A. encourage Congress to pass one-call legislation this
year. One-call systems should provide excavators the convenience of
placing a single call to a one-call center to have all underground
facilities in the vicinity located by the facility operators before digging
begins.



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We wish to thank you Mr. Chairman, as well as Chairman Mineta.
Chairman Sharp, Representative Pallone and your staffs for your
support of this most important issue.

On behalf of INGAA and A.G.A.. I would like to also express our
appreciation for the excellent work of the Utility Location and
Coordinating Council of the American Public Works Association and
also the Department of Transportation's (DOT) Office of Pipeline
Safety (OPS) who have labored so diligently over the years to develop
one-call systems throughout the nation. We urge Congress to
recognize these efforts and to carefully build on the progress that has
already been achieved.

The need for one-call systems arose as more and more utility
companies - gas. electric, cable, etc. - have been placing their facilities
underground, especially in populated areas. These areas are also
frequently high growth areas and therefore experience a great deal of
construction activity and associated excavation. In the 1970's the first
"one-call" centers were established to protect both the excavator and
the underground facility.

Much progress has been made since that time. Forty-six states and
the District of Columbia have enacted one-call legislation that basically
supports a one-call notification process. Twenty-seven states make
one-call mandatory. However, improvements are still needed in many
areas. According to DOT data, outside forces or third party damage
has caused over 60 percent of the natural gas transmission and
distribution incidents reported since 1970 and nearly one-half of the
fatalities. Unfortunately, few states require all excavators and all
underground facility operators to participate, nor do they provide for
statewide coverage or have an effective enforcement program.



52



In this age of competing needs for limited funds at the state and local
level, it is important to note that one-call programs are funded by the
participating underground facility operators, sometimes in
conjunction with dues paid by excavators. Charges are set by
negotiation with the one-call center operator and the underground
facility operators and excavators. Facility operators pay the charges
usually on the basis of the number of calls they get from the one-call
center that require a locate. There is usually no charge if no locate is
required.

We are pleased that the legislation reported by the House Energy and
Commerce committee has been carefully crafted to avoid creating
mandated federal or state operated one-call systems, but rather
provide guidance, direction and incentives to the states to improve
existing systems or create statewide systems. INGAA and A.G.A.
support certain basic elements to encourage and reward states for
developing and implementing comprehensive effective one-call
systems.

First, the Federal Government should review and revise the minimum
standards they have set for the establishment of one-call systems and
permit states flexibility in meeting these standards. The Department
of Transportation should establish a model that could be copied by
states to create effective damage prevention programs. Ideally, such a
model should include the following:

a) All operators of underground facilities that are at risk of being
struck by outside excavators should be included in the program.
Historically, underground facility operators have found that it is
more cost effective to participate in one-call systems to prevent
damage rather than having to repair facilities after the fact.



53



b) All excavators undertaking activities that could result in the
striking of underground facilities should be required to first call the
one-call system (unless the excavator and the facility operator are
one in the same person and no other underground facilities are
threatened).

c) Enforcement should encourage contractor participation, punish
failure to call and strongly encourage excavators who strike
facilities to promptly report such damage. States should tailor their
programs such that excavators are not fearful of reporting when
they accidentally strike facilities.

d) The model should include a public education component which
DOT would complement with its own effort.

e) DOT should periodically update its model program.

DOT should report on whether state programs meet the model federal
guidelines, publicize the results of the report and recommend actions
that should be taken to encourage states to upgrade their programs.
DOT should also hold workshops for states to educate them on the
benefits of good one-call systems. DOT/NTSB has just held such a
workshop for interested parties which was most informative.

Second, there should be a single easily remembered nationwide
telephone number dedicated to reporting planned excavations. Most
reports will originate in the same area code as the excavation so that
simply dialing this number could connect local excavators with their
one-call center. Where excavation is planned in a different area,
prefixing the dedicated number with the area code for the excavation
location could reach the proper center. Use of this number should be
free to excavators so as to encourage reporting. The benefit of a single



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nationwide dedicated number is that it can easily be popularized
through a nationwide public information campaign. This might form
the center focus of a national effort by underground facility operators
to bring excavation safety to the public's attention. This number does
not have to replace existing state numbers but can be an excellent
focal point for a nationwide public awareness education campaign.

We are pleased to see that these concepts are included in the
legislation reported by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Both the INGAA and the A.G.A. boards of directors strongly support
passage of one-call legislation embodying the above principles. We
believe that it is very important to enact legislation this year. Some
organizations have expressed concerns with the language of H.R. 4394
as introduced. INGAA and A.G.A. have reviewed the bill as reported
from the Energy and Commerce Committee and are in support of its
adoption along with the staff proposed revisions.

In closing even though the time is growing short this Congressional
session, we want to continue to work with you, Mr. Chairman and your
staff to pass this legislation this year.



55



STATEMENT OF DR. D.K. SHARMA

ADMINISTRATOR

RESEARCH AND SPECIAL PROGRAMS ADMINISTRATION

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON SURFACE TRANSPORTATION

HOUSE PUBLIC WORKS AND TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE

SEPTEMBER 22, 1994

Good morning Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee.

I am Dr. D.K. Sharma, Administrator of the Research and Special
Programs Administration (RSPA) . With me today is George W.
Tenley, Jr., Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety. Thank
you for the opportunity to appear before you to testify on behalf
of Secretary Pena and the Department of Transportation (DOT)
concerning our ongoing efforts to protect and improve the quality
of the Nation's pipeline infrastructure. In protecting the
integrity of pipelines, we protect the health and welfare of the
people and the environment in proximity to those pipelines.

The issues we will discuss today have been framed in legislation
that has been proposed by your colleagues on the House Energy
Committee, Congressmen Pallone and Sharp, and in the Senate by
Senators Lautenberg and Bradley. Most of my statement will focus
on this legislative initiative, but I believe it is important
that I put this initiative in the context of the Secretary's
vision of the evolving pipeline safety program and the agency
charged with the effective risk management of this vital, yet
often overlooked, mode of transportation.



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The Pipeline Safety Program

Mr. Chairman, in the last year, we have witnessed accidents that
raise fundamental issues concerning the state of the pipeline
infrastructure in this country and the need to better understand
the risks posed to, and by, that infrastructure. We have
examined how best to manage these risks, and I believe that we
are ready to meet the challenge. While this is partly a function
of the prospect of more resources, I believe, as important, is
the personal attention of Secretary Pena to this challenge. No
previous Secretary of Transportation has been so well informed of
the issues involved in ensuring the integrity and viability of
pipelines - one of the Nation's largest transportation
infrastructures. And no previous Secretary has pursued solutions
as tenaciously as Secretary Pena.

The Secretary has signaled his commitment to pipeline safety by
pursuing a budget for pipeline safety in fiscal year 1995 that is
double what it was in fiscal year 1993. This infusion of
resources will help usher in an era in which the Office of
Pipeline Safety (OPS) can transition into a leadership role to
advocate a program of effective risk management. OPS' core
purpose must be the credible, technically solid, and independent
assessment of the nation's pipeline infrastructure and assessment
of industry actions to protect and operate that infrastructure.



57



3
During the June 1994 pipeline safety summit in Newark, New
Jersey, Secretary Pefia articulated his 10-year vision for
pipeline safety:

1) Every pipeline in this country should be tested and,
where necessary, rehabilitated.

2) Every state should have a one-call system that allows
any excavator to call a single number and get a prompt
location of any underground facilities at the
excavation site.

3) New technology should be applied for identification and
repair of any serious pipeline flaw before a massive
failure occurs.

4) Every community should have land use policies which
take into account the existence of pipelines in order
to avoid excavation damage.

5) The federal pipeline safety program should enjoy public
confidence and trust.

I believe that the proposed legislation can be an effective tool
to help us realize the Secretary's vision, and I want to continue
working with you to ensure passage at the earliest possible date.



58



4
National One-Call Campaign

Mr. Chairman, before discussing our specific views of the
proposed legislation, I would like to bring the Committee up to
date on DOT'S national campaign to improve the use of one-call
notification systems. Over the last several months, we have
taken significant steps in defining and implementing a strategy
to strengthen one-call systems nationwide.

In May, DOT was an active participant in the annual One-Call
Systems Damage Prevention Symposium in Minneapolis. This summer,
we devoted an entire morning of the most recent meeting of our
two Technical Advisory Committees to one-call issues. Earlier
this month, DOT and the National Transportation Safety Board
conducted a national excavation damage prevention workshop which
was instrumental in significantly improving understanding of
underground facility issues by a broad cross section of
stakeholders. This landmark event was the first occasion for
which the entire community of underground facility operators came
together to address facility damage prevention in over 20 years.
The participants agreed on the key elements of one-call programs,
including participation by all excavators, increased public
awareness through public education, and the swift and simple
enforcement of damage prevention laws. The workshop also
highlighted the need for general and specialized training for
excavators and improved mapping and locating of buried



59



facilities .

In addition to these forums, our one-call action plan includes:

o developing a standardized database on third party damage for

nationwide use;
o completing our rulemaking on operator requirements for

damage prevention;
o assisting states with implementing state legislation;
o identifying and promoting exemplary damage prevention

practices;
o developing a program to better map and locate pipelines; and
o pursuing a nationwide public education campaign.

As you can see, RSPA has been very active on the one-call front,
and we will continue to vigorously promote and support increased
one-call usage.

Views on Proposed Legislation

Mr. Chairman, I would now like to discuss the pending bill,
"The Comprehensive One-Call Notification Act of 1994", H.R. 4394.
The bill addresses the single leading cause of pipeline failures,
third party damage, typically caused by heavy construction
equipment striking a pipeline. By targeting this critical
problem, H.R. 43 94 can have a substantial impact on improving



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6
pipeline safety. We are fully supportive of most provisions in
the bill and have appreciated the cooperative efforts of the
Congressional staff in keeping us fully involved. Since we
provided you with our detailed views on the bill in response to
your recent request, I will focus this morning on some key
elements that we would like to bring to your attention. My
comments cover provisions in the latest version of the bill, a
discussion draft dated September 14, 1994, which I understand is
the result of deliberations of the staffs of the three pipeline
safety authorizing committees of Congress.

The bill covers all underground facilities, not just pipelines.
Although the Department does not have existing responsibilities
for underground facilities other than natural gas, hazardous
liquid, and carbon dioxide pipelines, we do not believe the bill
imposes a significant burden on RSPA to undertake a substantive
new program covering other underground systems such as water,
sewer, electrical and communication lines. The Department will
continue to work with one-call systems and all national groups
representing constituents involved in underground facility damage
prevention. As contemplated in the bill, we will develop a model
program that can be adopted by states for application to all
underground facilities.

The bill is predicated on several concepts that we fully support,
including:



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o Development by the Department of Transportation of a model
one -call program.

o Development by the Department of Transportation, through
partnerships, of a nationwide public education program.

o A federal pipeline safety grant program that provides funds
to states to encourage state adoption of effective one-call
programs .

o The essential elements of an effective one-call system:
mandatory participation by all underground facility
operators; only narrowly drawn exceptions to a general
requirement that all excavators call before they dig;
effective, easily administered sanctions; and 24-hour
coverage with provision for emergency excavation.



o An enforcement provision that leaves discretion to the

states in establishing penalties and provides for increased
penalties when damage results from a violation.



o Federal implementation of a nationwide toll free one-call
telephone number.



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8
This last item requires further explanation. While supporting
the concept of a nationwide toll-free one-call telephone number,
we believe that the requirement for a national number should not
preclude the use of statewide numbers. Rather, the national
number should be used in conjunction with statewide numbers.
Many states already have invested significantly in publicizing
their statewide numbers, and eliminating them in favor of a
national number might create confusion. The most beneficial use
of a national number would be if an excavator is operating
outside its normal base of operations (i.e., in another state)
and calls a national number to be routed automatically to the
appropriate number in the state where the excavation will take
place. We think the language in the bill needs to be clarified
to ensure this outcome.

Conclusion

Mr. Chairman, the pipeline safety program is on the threshold of
becoming what it has needed to be for many years. The Secretary
has pledged his personal support to ensure that the program
reaches its full potential, and I add my personal pledge for the
same outcome .

The successful management of the risks inherent in pipeline
transportation will require not only sound public policy
decisions by all levels of government, but will require a wider



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Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on PubliComprehensive One-Call Notification Act of 1994 : hearing before the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation of the Committee on Public Works and Transportation, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, second session, September 22, 1994 → online text (page 6 of 7)