APGA and AGA Request Extension in Furnace SNOPR Comment Period
On September 26, APGA and the American Gas Association (AGA) sent a letter to the Department of
Energy (DOE) formally requesting an additional 30 days in the comment period for the furnace
Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNOPR). DOE is proposing a residential furnace
nationwide mandate of 92 AFUE with a small furnace exemption for furnaces of 55,000 Btu or
less. Furnaces under the small furnace exemption would be allowed to be non-condensing, while all
furnaces above that threshold would have to be condensing. The rule would go into effect five years
after the rule is finalized.
The original pre-publication SNOPR released by DOE allowed for only a 30-day comment period. On
September 12, prior to the SNOPR’s publication, APGA and AGA requested that DOE extend the
comment period by 60-days, bringing it to a total of 90 days in the comment period. Once the SNOPR
was published on September 23, it allowed for a 60-day comment period, which would set November 22
as the comment deadline. Given that DOE’s extension still fell short of the 90-days that APGA and AGA
had asked for, the September 26 request for an additional 30-day extension would allow for a 90-day
APGA and AGA have communicated to DOE that in addition to the 488-page rule, there are seven
additional files and models, including a 1,198-page Technical Support Document. All of this data must
be interpreted and understood to comment meaningfully on the proposal. Given the “immensity and
complexity of the documents to be reviewed and analyzed in connection with the SNOPR,” APGA and
AGA maintain that 90-days are warranted to allow interested parties to prepare and file comments.
A copy of APGA’s requests to DOE for an extension in the comment period is available on the APGA
website at www.apga.org. For questions on this article or APGA’s efforts to respond to DOE’s furnace
SNOPR, please contact Dave Schryver of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at
Congress Passes Legislation to Continue Funding of the Federal Government
On September 28, the House passed by a vote of 342-85 a continuing resolution that funds the federal
government through December 9. Funding of the federal government was set to expire at the end of
the fiscal year, which is September 30. Earlier on the same day, the Senate passed the continuing
resolution on a 72-16 vote. The White House has indicated that the President will sign the
legislation. The continuing resolution continues funding at current levels while providing an additional
$1.1 billion for addressing the Zika virus and $500 million in flood aid for states recently hit by storms.
With passage of this legislation, Congress will now depart for the November elections and then return
for a lame duck session in which they will again address funding for the federal government prior to the
December 9 deadline. Action on other items, such as comprehensive energy legislation, will have to
occur during a lame duck session if it occurs at all. Action during a lame duck session will also be
impacted by the results of the November elections.
For questions on this article, please contact Dave Schryver of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or
by email at email@example.com.
APGA Speaks at State Pipeline Safety Regulators’ Annual Meeting
On September 27, APGA’s President, Bert Kalisch, and Vice President of Operations, John Erickson,
spoke to over 70 state pipeline safety regulators during the national meeting of the National Association
of Pipeline Safety Representatives (NAPSR) in Indianapolis. Steve Allen of the Indiana Utility Regulatory
Commission currently chairs NAPSR.
Bert briefed the regulators on some of the major issues APGA is following in Washington, D.C., including
the recent supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking on furnace efficiency, the mandate for fossil
fuel-free government buildings and other federal actions that inhibit or outright ban the direct-use of
natural gas. With all the benefits of natural gas (e.g., clean, domestically-produced and economical), the
government should be promoting natural gas, not limiting its use, he said. Bert described the APGA
System Operational Achievement Recognition (SOAR) program and recognized the 21 systems that
earned SOAR in 2014, eight more in 2015, and 12 additional in 2016. He also described the APGA Gas
Overall Awareness Level (GOAL) program for public awareness program effectiveness assessment and
the benchmarking program.
John covered the activities of the APGA Security and Integrity Foundation (SIF). Many state regulators
are active on the SIF Board and on SIF advisory groups. He discussed recent and pending improvements
to the Simple, Handy, Risk-based Integrity Management Plan (SHRIMP) program, including adding the
ability to track and analyze performance measures within SHRIMP. By the end of 2016, the SIF will have
similar programs to help utilities write operations and maintenance manuals, public awareness plans,
anti-drug and alcohol plans, operator qualification plans and all other required plans and procedures. In
addition, the SIF is developing applications for smartphones and tablets to record all inspection,
maintenance and construction data while in the field. The SIF aims to offer a full menu of programs to
assist small operators to safely and efficiently operate natural gas distribution systems.
For questions on this article, please contact John Erickson of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-0834 or by
email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EIA Reports Storage Increase of 49 Bcf to Put Working Gas Storage at 3,600 Bcf
Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, September 29, 2016, which reports the
week’s storage report highlights for Friday, September 23, 2016. A 49 Bcf increase has been reported.
Working gas in storage was 3,600 Bcf as of Friday, September 23, 2016, according to EIA estimates. This
represents a net increase of 49 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 90 Bcf higher than last year at
this time and 220 Bcf above the five-year average of 3,380 Bcf. At 3,600 Bcf, total working gas is above
the five-year historical range.