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On November 13, the Department of Transportation (DOT) amended its drug-testing program regulation to: add hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and oxycodone to its drug-testing panel; add methylenedioxyamphetamine as an initial test analyte; and, remove methylenedioxyethylamphetamine as a confirmatory test analyte. The revision of the drug-testing panel harmonizes DOT regulations with the revised Health and Human Services (HHS) Mandatory Guidelines established by the U.S. Department of HHS for federal drug-testing programs for urine testing. The final rule clarifies certain existing drug- testing program provisions and definitions, makes technical amendments, ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, November 16, 2017, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, November 10, 2017. An 18 Bcf decrease has been reported. Working gas in storage was 3,772 Bcf as of Friday, November 10, 2017, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decrease of 18 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 271 Bcf less than last year at this time and 101 Bcf below the five-year average of 3,873 Bcf. At 3,772 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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This week, the House of Representatives passed its tax reform bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The bill serves as the House’s opening offer once it goes to a conference committee with the Senate. The House bill was considered under a closed rule, meaning that all amendments were submitted and reviewed by the Rules Committee. However, the Rules Committee decided not to accept any amendments. This also means that no amendments were accepted on the House floor. Thus, the bill passed out of the House was the bill voted out of Ways and Means. Any further alterations will come during the conference committee. A final tax bill signed into law will differ significantly ...
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The Plastic Pipe Database Committee (PPDC) is a group of representatives of federal and state regulatory agencies and the natural gas and plastic pipe industries. Their mission is to create a national database of information related to the in-service performance of plastic piping materials. The group meets three times a year to review the latest information gathered from natural gas operators on plastic pipe and fitting failures. At the conclusion of each meeting a Status Report is issued. APGA encourages operating companies to review these status reports to determine if there is applicability to your system. Click here to see the most recent Status Report: ...
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From November 13 to 15, nearly 200 attendees representing 61 different APGA member operating companies participated in APGA’s Annual Operations Conference in Chattanooga, Tenn. Attendees heard more than 25 presentations on issues ranging from public awareness effectiveness to safety management best practices to the benefits of risk modeling for local gas distribution companies. The program was opened with a welcome from Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Deputy Administrator Drue Pearce. Ms. Pearce reinforced the administration’s focus on infrastructure improvement and expansion, job creation, and ...
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On November 14, the Senate Finance Committee began its mark-up of comprehensive tax reform titled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The legislation proposes a number of major changes to the tax code and includes cuts in both corporate and individual tax rates. There are a number of key differences between the Senate proposal and that which the House has developed. For example, the Senate bill contains more individual brackets (seven instead of four) than the House bill. In addition, the Senate bill does not completely repeal the Estate Tax and retains the mortgage interest debt deduction—the House bill lowers the deduction from the current cap of $1 million to $500,000. ...
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On November 7, the House’s Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing to discuss how to reform the Energy Star Program.  APGA and the Direct Use Task Group (DUTG) wanted to make sure our voice was heard during this discussion.   On behalf of APGA and the DUTG, we submitted comments that outline the areas where the Energy Star Program could be improved.  A copy of our letter can be found on APGA’s correspondence webpage.  The areas highlighted include:On November 7, the House’s Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing to discuss how to reform the Energy Star Program.  APGA and the Direct Use Task Group (DUTG) wanted to make sure our voice was heard during this discussion.  ...
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On October 30, the American Public Gas Association Research Foundation (RF) elected a new Chairman of the Board of Directors, Don Suarez. Don is the Director of Pensacola Energy and was Vice Chair of the RF’s Board of Directors prior to his election. Don has a wealth of experience in the natural gas business. He joined Pensacola Energy in 1984 and has led the utility since 2000. In addition to his role as Chairman of the RF’s Board, Don has held leadership roles in APGA, Florida Natural Gas Association as well as various civic, business, and government organizations. The Research Foundation would also like to thank Jimmy Sprouse for his leadership over the ...
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On November 2, Howard “Skip” Elliott was sworn in as Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). Mr. Elliott is a 40-year veteran of the U.S. freight rail industry, serving over the last decade as group Vice President of Public Safety, Health, Environment and Security for CSX Transportation in Jacksonville, Fla. His portfolio of responsibilities included hazardous materials transportation safety, homeland security, railroad policing, crisis management, environmental compliance and operations, occupational health management and continuity of business operations. He is a pioneer and leading advocate in developing and implementing ...
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On November 2, the Senate unanimously approved by voice vote the President’s nomination of Kevin McIntyre, an energy lawyer at Jones Day, to serve as Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and Richard Glick, Minority Counsel for the Senate Energy Committee, to serve as a Commissioner. Mr. McIntyre’s term would expire on June 30, 2023 and Mr. Glick’s term would expire on June 30, 2022. The Commission has lacked a quorum since former Chairman Bay’s departure in January. This was the first time that the Commission has lacked a quorum in its 40-year history. APGA sent a letter to the Chairman, Senator Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ranking Member, ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, November 9, 2017, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, November 3, 2017. A 15 Bcf increase has been reported. Working gas in storage was 3,790 Bcf as of Friday, November 3, 2017, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 15 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 219 Bcf less than last year at this time and 71 Bcf below the five-year average of 3,861 Bcf. At 3,790 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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Today, the House Ways and Means Committee released comprehensive tax reform legislation titled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  The approximately 400-page bill addresses individual, corporate, and international tax issues. The plan would reduce the corporate rate to 20 percent permanently and addresses numerous tax deductions/credits.  Upon initial review, there are a number of provisions that impact natural gas production and consumption as well as electricity.  These provisions include the below. Today, the House Ways and Means Committee released comprehensive tax reform legislation titled the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  The approximately 400-page bill addresses individual, ...
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APGA held its fall Board and Committee Meetings as well as a Strategic Planning Session from October 29 to November 1 in Cape Coral, Fla. APGA holds board and committee meetings quarterly and this is a time for members to meet in-person to discuss industry trends, issues and more. Committee meetings held include Marketing & Sales, Operations & Safety, Government Relations, Associates and many more. Much of APGA’s important work gets done at these committee meetings and during the APGA Board of Directors meeting, which was held on October 30. After the board and committee meetings ended, APGA members engaged in a strategic planning session. This is a process ...
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On November 8 at 3:00 p.m. EST, APGA’s Research Foundation (RF) will be hosting the first of three webinars discussing the research that is being conducted by the Gas Technology Institute (GTI). The series will focus on the major areas of research the RF supports, advancements in operational technologies, new direct use of natural gas utilization and emerging technologies. For our first webinar, we will hear from Ryan Kerr who will discuss some of the current research that is being developed that will help shape the future of our industry. Ryan’s group, Emerging Technology Program (ETP), concentrates on bridging the gap between product development and commercialization ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, November 2, 2017, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, October 27, 2017. A 65 Bcf increase has been reported. Working gas in storage was 3,775 Bcf as of Friday, October 27, 2017, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 65 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 180 Bcf less than last year at this time and 41 Bcf below the five-year average of 3,816 Bcf. At 3,775 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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The Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued $2,488,497 in grants to state entities, local communities, and non-profit organizations to address pipeline safety challenges related to damage prevention and to promote more involvement in local pipeline safety initiatives and awareness efforts. PHMSA’s Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) program encourages local communities and non-profit organizations to help communities develop pipeline safety and technical education programs specific to their needs through technical assistance. The TAG awards provide funding for a broad range of activities, including ...
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APGA is working closely with the American Gas Association, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America and American Petroleum Institute to develop comments in response to the October 2 Department of Transportation request for comment on Regulatory Reform. This request for comment is in response to the President’s Executive Order (E.O. 13771) titled “Reducing Regulation and controlling Regulatory Costs.” The E.O. states that “unless prohibited by law, whenever an executive department or agency publicly proposes for notice and comment or otherwise promulgates a new regulation, it must identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed.” The public comments ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, October 26, 2017, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, October 20, 2017. A 64 Bcf increase has been reported. Working gas in storage was 3,710 Bcf as of Friday, October 20, 2017, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 64 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 189 Bcf less than last year at this time and 46 Bcf below the five-year average of 3,756 Bcf. At 3,710 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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Today, the House passed the Senate-passed budget resolution by a vote of 216-212. The budget resolution is a concurrent resolution and does not carry the force of law, thus does not require the President’s signature. This resolution formally sets the topline (302(a)) budget levels for fiscal year 2018 spending bills. More importantly, this budget resolution sets in motion the process known as reconciliation. As part of the budget process, Congress can direct committees to submit legislation that brings spending and revenue in line with the budget resolution. Reconciliation is a powerful tool because it provides for expedited consideration in Congress and only ...
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On October 24, APGA’s Vice President of Operations, John Erickson, discussed current issues being monitored by APGA affecting public natural gas system operations and safety at the Pipeline Safety Conference in Junction City, Kansas, sponsored by the Kansas Corporation Commission. John’s talk addressed the proposed rulemaking amending the operator qualification regulations that was proposed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in 2015. He discussed the rulemaking process and noted that this proposed rule had gone through public comment and review by PHMSA’s Advisory Committee so PHMSA could issue a final rule at any time. He stated ...
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