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On January 23, APGA—jointly with the American Gas Association, American Petroleum Association and the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America—submitted comments to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on proposed changes to the Gas Transmission & Gathering Lines Annual Report that align with the new Safety of Gas Transmission Lines rule that was published in October 2019. The industry associations asked that PHMSA make modifications to their proposal that ensure consistency between what is required by regulation and what is required to be reported. For example, operators are only required to perform Integrity Assessments ...
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The rulemaking proceeding of the Department of Energy’s (DOE's) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) concerning new appliance efficiency standards for commercial packaged boilers (CPBs) is final. The effective date of this rule is March 10, 2020. Compliance with the amended standards established for commercial packaged boilers is required on and after January 10, 2023. The effort on this standard first started in October 2013. Then, work on the rulemaking was completed by the Obama administration in December 2016; but in January 2017, the Trump administration declined to make it final due to the “error correction rule.” It and three other efficiency ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, January 23, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, January 17. A 92 Bcf decrease has been reported. Working gas in storage was 2,947 Bcf as of Friday, January 17, 2020, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decrease of 92 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 554 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 251 Bcf above the five-year average of 2,696 Bcf. At 2,947 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a final rule updating and streamlining aspects of DOE’s current rulemaking process under the Appliance and Equipment Standards Program. DOE also issued a proposed rule that would clarify the procedures used to evaluate the economic justification of new or amended energy conservation standards. DOE’s final “Process Rule” takes into account public feedback received, including input from APGA members, both in writing and at public meetings. APGA’s comments to DOE helped shaped the final rule. Major elements of the final rule include: • Establishing a threshold for “significant” energy savings at 0.3 quads over 30 years, ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, January 16, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, January 10. A 109 Bcf decrease has been reported. Working gas in storage was 3,039 Bcf as of Friday, January 10, 2020, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decrease of 109 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 494 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 149 Bcf above the five-year average of 2,890 Bcf. At 3,039 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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On January 9, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposed updates to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which will streamline, clarify, and modernize the permitting and environmental review process, as well as help facilitate environmentally-responsible construction of natural gas infrastructure. While there are likely more implications for transmission lines, given the federal review process, this proposal will benefit APGA members through more pipeline access to clean, affordable, and reliable natural gas. Specifically, the proposed changes to CEQ’s NEPA regulations will provide predictability and transparency in the permitting ...
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On December 20, 2019 the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) granted APGA our Petition for Reconsideration for two elements of the Safety of Gas Transmission Pipelines: Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure Reconfirmation, Expansion of Assessment Requirements, and Other Related Amendments Final Rule. Following its publication on October 1, 2019 APGA along with the American Gas Association, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, and American Petroleum Institute submitted a Petition for Reconsideration requesting that PHMSA: (1) clarify that the recordkeeping requirement related to class location changes, §192.5(d), is specific ...
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The American Petroleum Institute (API) is in the process of updating its Recommended Practice (RP) 1162 on Public Awareness Programs for Pipeline Operators. A working group met in Denver this January 6-9 to continue reviewing comments received on the draft third version of RP 1162. The original RP 1162 was issued in 2003; and in 2005, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) incorporated RP 1162 by reference in its pipeline safety regulations, making RP 1162 mandatory for public awareness programs. Operators were required to develop and implement public awareness programs meeting the requirements of RP 1162 no later than 2006. APGA ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, January 9, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, January 3. A 44 Bcf decrease has been reported. Working gas in storage was 3,148 Bcf as of Friday, January 3, 2020, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decrease of 44 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 521 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 74 Bcf above the five-year average of 3,074 Bcf. At 3,148 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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On December 20, the President signed the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act Fiscal Year 2020 into law. This increases the fiscal year (FY) 2020 Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding by $50 million to a total of $3.74 billion. In addition, the bill includes a new hold-harmless provision, which guarantees that states receive at least 97 percent of the funds allocated in the previous fiscal year. This helps address fluctuations in LIHEAP funding. The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education previously released $3.32 billion in LIHEAP funds on November 1 under the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2020. LIHEAP is a ...
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APGA is requesting that member systems sign on to an Open Letter to Congressional Appropriations Committees from the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC), which requests that Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding for fiscal year (FY) 2021 be made a priority as they draft the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations Bill. Please note that APGA has already signed this letter. NEUAC is the result of a 2013 merger between the National Fuel Funds Network (NFFN) and the National Low Income Energy Consortium (NLIEC). APGA continues to support a full funding level of $5.1 billion for LIHEAP. Systems can ...
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SOAR 2020 Is Open!

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Enrollment for the 2020 System Operational Achievement Recognition (SOAR) program is now open through February 28, 2020. Operating a safe and efficient distribution system is at the core of every APGA member's mission. Once again, in 2020 APGA will recognize public natural gas systems that epitomize operational excellence. SOAR applications are now being accepted. New in 2020 is the introduction of questions specifically targeting a member’s Pipeline Safety Management Systems (PSMS) journey. The questions are focused on a member’s commitment to learning about PSMS and how the principles found in the API Recommended Practice may best fit into their systems culture ...
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This week, Congress passed the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations package. A host of tax extenders were included in the package, including a renewal of the Alternative Fuel Tax Credit (AFTC) and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Credit. The bill passed with broad bipartisan support. The AFTC provides a $0.50 per gallon of gas equivalent tax credit on the sale of compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) for transportation. The credit was last retroactively extended for tax year 2017 in the 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act, but was not renewed for 2019. This year’ spending agreement retroactively renews the AFTC for 2018 and 2019, as well as through 2020. ...
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On December 12, APGA presented Jim Hodges of Middle Tennessee Natural Gas with the J. Hardy Johnston Award for outstanding service to the natural gas industry at Jim’s retirement lunch in Smithville, Tenn. Jim has been active in APGA since the 1990s and was APGA Operations and Safety Committee Chairman in 2009-2010 and APGA Chairman in 2016-2017. Jim is originally from Mountain Home, Arkansas and graduated from the University of Arkansas with a B. S. in Engineering Science. From 1997 to June 2011, he served as Vice-President of Engineering for Middle Tennessee Natural Gas; and, from July 1, 2011 through December 31, 2019 he has served as Executive Vice President ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, December 19, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, December 13. A 107 Bcf decrease has been reported. Working gas in storage was 3,411 Bcf as of Friday, December 13, 2019, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decrease of 107 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 618 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 9 Bcf below the five-year average of 3,420 Bcf. At 3,411 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, December 12, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, December 6. A 73 Bcf decrease has been reported. Working gas in storage was 3,518 Bcf as of Friday, December 6, 2019, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net decrease of 73 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 593 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 14 Bcf below the five-year average of 3,532 Bcf. At 3,518 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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On December 5, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) held a public meeting of the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee (ASRAC). As a reminder, this group advises DOE on efforts related to the Appliance and Equipment Standards Program. Often, they lead negotiated rulemakings for DOE. Of particular interest to APGA members, DOE’s Appliance and Equipment Standards Program includes natural gas-fueled covered products like residential furnaces, water heaters, clothes dryers, ranges, room heaters, wall furnaces, and floor furnaces. Commercial equipment is also in the ASRAC’s purview. APGA is fortunate to have Danny Manning of Sevier County ...
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On December 10, APGA held a webinar for its members to provide an overview of APGA’s legislative and regulatory activities in 2019. The webinar was presented by Dave Schryver, APGA’s Executive Vice President, and Stuart Saulters and Doug MacGillivray, Directors of Government Affairs. During the webinar they discussed APGA advocacy efforts on a number of issues including pipeline safety legislation, energy legislation as well as a number of Department of Energy (DOE) rulemakings. During the webinar, staff discussed efforts to enact legislation to provide the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) with the authority to order refunds, in the same manner that ...
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On August 2, 2017, a portion of a school building exploded in Minneapolis, Minn. Two individuals were killed, and nine others were injured as a result. A subcontract for the local gas company, CenterPoint Energy (CPE), was making the necessary piping configuration adjustments to allow the meter set to be moved from inside the utility room to outside. The three-inch plug isolation valve was left in the open position when the piping was disconnected. The utility room quickly filled with natural gas and ultimately led to the explosion. On December 2, 2019 the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), who investigates transportation incidents released a Pipeline ...
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The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), an independent, nonpartisan federal agency that conducts research for Congress, is reviewing the reliability of the natural gas pipeline system. Specifically, GAO is looking at the frequency, causes, and impacts of service interruptions experienced by local distribution companies (LDC) over the last five years. The GAO has interviewed APGA and we have assisted the effort by arranging member interviews. As part of this study, GAO has developed a web-based questionnaire that will be sent via email to about 150 randomly selected LDCs. Based on preliminary outreach with LDCs, GAO’s survey will be directed at Gas ...
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