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Several members of APGA’s Media and Public Outreach Committee (MPOC) met in Washington, D.C. on Monday April 22 to hear proposals from communications firms. Nicole Graham from the Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia and Sue Kristjansson from Oak Ridge Utility District are on the RFP Task Group of the MPOC and have been leading the process in hiring a firm. It was decided by the MPOC that we need to hire a communications firm to help develop a strategy, materials and best practices for APGA so that we can efficiently and effectively be proactive and reactive to media. At its July 2018 Board Meeting, the APGA Board of Directors unanimously approved the creation ...
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On April 24, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) held a public webinar on the Plastic Pipe Rule that was published on November 20, 2018. The slides are available to view on APGA’s Open Forum, but unfortunately, the webinar was not recorded. PHMSA provided a detailed summary of all the elements of the rule and attempted to address several reoccurring questions from industry. PHMSA provided a disclaimer that none of their answers provided during the webinar can be deemed as official PHMSA positions and encouraged operators to work with their state regulators if they have questions about how to comply with elements within the rule. ...
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On April 22, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a public hearing to discuss the findings and recommendations related to the August 2016 accident in Silver Spring, Md. As a result of a failure on an inside service regulator, a 14-unit apartment building collapsed due to a natural gas-fueled explosion and fire. Seven residents died; 65 residents were transported to the hospital; and, three firefighters were injured. The NTSB identified the following safety issues that contributed to the accident: • the location and inspection of service regulators within a structure • the inspection of the gas meter assembly • the notification of the natural ...
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On April 22, APGA submitted comments in response to the first public review draft of the Standard for the Design of High Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings. This document is being revised in coordination with several Standards Developing Organizations (SDO), including American National Standards Institute (ANSI), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), International Code Council (ICC), U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and Illuminating Engineering Society (IES). APGA worked closely with Neil Leslie, at the Gas Technology Institute (GTI), in drafting this input. If certain stakeholders ...
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On April 24, Dave Schryver, Doug MacGillivray and Stuart Saulters of APGA staff held a webinar to help APGA members prepare for the upcoming APGA member meetings on Capitol Hill scheduled for May 7 and 8. APGA members meet with their congressional delegations as part of the Spring Board and Committee meetings. These member meetings on Capitol Hill play a critical role in APGA’s advocacy efforts as it allows congressional offices to hear directly from their constituents on key issues of interest to public gas systems and the natural gas industry as a whole. During last year’s conference, APGA members met with approximately 60 congressional offices. In addition, ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, April 25, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, April 19. A 92 Bcf increase has been reported. Working gas in storage was 1,339 Bcf as of Friday, April 19, 2019, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 92 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 55 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 369 Bcf below the five-year average of 1,708 Bcf. At 1,339 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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On the morning of April 18, Audrey Anderson, APGA’s Editorial and Marketing Director, presented at the Southern Gas Association’s (SGA) Management Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. The presentation was on the development and research behind the newly-launched Natural Gas Genius campaign. APGA members Shannon Jackson of Southeast Gas, and Rodney Dill of Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia presented immediately after on the execution of the campaign, each sharing examples of how their organizations have implemented the Natural Gas Genius campaign. Audrey began the presentation by explaining how almost two years ago, APGA membership was vocal about needing increased, ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, April 18, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, April 12. A 92 Bcf increase has been reported. Working gas in storage was 1,247 Bcf as of Friday, April 12, 2019, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 92 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 57 Bcf less than last year at this time and 414 Bcf below the five-year average of 1,661 Bcf. At 1,247 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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APGA would like to welcome our newest employee, Stuart Saulters, who will be a Director of Government Affairs. At APGA, Stuart serves as the staff executive for the Codes and Standards Committee, as well as the Direct Use Task Group. As needed, he also advocates on behalf of APGA members in other appropriate congressional and regulatory matters. Prior to joining APGA, Stuart served as a Senior Policy Advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API). He spent some time working on pipeline safety issues for API members, mostly operating liquids transmission lines, and then, advocated for worker safety policies for refinery operators. Before his time at API, Stuart ...
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The time has come once again for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to be reauthorized. Congress has been ramping up activity on this front, as a bill must be passed by September 30 to avoid a lapse in funding. However, if the legislation is not completed by the deadline, PHMSA and their state partners will continue operating with existing appropriations. As with most other PHMSA reauthorizations, APGA members should also expect additional policy issues addressed through mandates in 2019. Congress last reauthorized PHMSA in the 2016 PIPES Act for three years. Mandates within the 2016 PIPES Act required PHMSA to promulgate regulations ...
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The APGA Research Foundation (RF) and Gas Technology Institute (GTI) will hold the 2019 Fall Forum this August 21-22 and APGA members are encouraged to attend! The APGA Research Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation that serves as the “bank” for public gas system (PGS) voluntary research and development (R&D) contributions. The RF provides PGSs their own organization to collect and allocate voluntary dollars to R&D important to public gas customers. The RF identifies and prioritizes research projects important to contributing PGSs and ensures that project deliverables are tracked and met. Those deliverables always include commercialization prospects, ...
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On April 12, Dave Schryver, APGA’s Executive Vice President, spoke to the Illinois Public Energy Agency’s (IPEA) 2019 Annual Meeting, which was held in Effingham, Ill. IPEA was created in 2005 to serve the needs of the state’s municipal gas utilities that own and operate their own natural gas systems. The meeting was very well attended by IPEA members which includes Illinois public gas systems and rural gas cooperatives. Dave provided a legislative and regulatory update to participants. He discussed congressional efforts to reauthorize the Pipeline Safety Act as well as APGA action to ensure that natural gas pipeline customers receive the benefit of the lowered ...
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On April 15, APGA’s Executive Vice President, Dave Schryver, served as the Keynote Speaker at the Southeast LDC Gas Forum held in Atlanta. The LDC Gas Forum is held regionally to bring people together from the natural gas industry to discuss vital regional and national issues affecting all aspects of the natural gas marketplace. The event is held annually and is very well attended by APGA members and other representatives from the natural gas industry. In his presentation, Dave provided an overview of the 116th Congressional session and discussed the challenges the direct use of natural gas is facing at the federal, state and local level. Dave also provided ...
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On April 9, APGA’s John Erickson briefed the attendees of the Tennessee Gas Association Distribution & Operations Conference in Murfreesboro, Tenn., on current issues affecting operators of gas utilities. He noted that the Pipeline Safety Act was due to be reauthorized this year and that congressional hearings have already begun. Congress could reauthorize the law as written and merely extend the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) budget for another four years; however, Congress typically adds requirements for additional studies and/or regulations. As in prior reauthorizations, significant pipeline safety accidents that occurred ...
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This week, the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety convened a hearing titled “Pipeline Safety: Federal Oversight and Stakeholder Perspectives.” This hearing “examined federal pipeline safety and federal oversight as the Commerce Committee considers reauthorization of the PHMSA’s pipeline safety program.” There was only one panel, which consisted of: Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Administrator Skip Elliott; National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt; Interstate Natural Gas Association of America representative Paul Amato, who is the Vice President ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, April 11, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, April 5. A 25 Bcf increase has been reported. Working gas in storage was 1,155 Bcf as of Friday, April 5, 2019, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 25 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 183 Bcf less than last year at this time and 485 Bcf below the five-year average of 1,640 Bcf. At 1,155 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
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On March 20, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order terminating FERC Form No. 501-G proceedings for 38 interstate natural gas pipeline companies. Last year, FERC moved to address the impact of the lower corporate tax rate (the Tax Juts and Jobs Act of 2017 lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent) by approving Order No. 849, which requires interstate pipelines to file a one-time report, called FERC Form No. 501-G, on the rate effect of the new tax law and changes to FERC’s income tax allowance policies. The 38 interstate natural gas pipeline companies have either filed a general Natural Gas Act (NGA) section 4 rate ...
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This week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials convened a hearing titled “Pipeline Safety: Reviewing the Status of Mandates and Examining Additional Safety Needs.” This hearing is meant to kick off the committee’s work on the 2019 PIPES Act to reauthorize the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The hearing consisted of three panels. The first was a member panel of Representatives Trahan and Moulton, both representing Massachusetts districts impacted by the NiSource/Columbia Gas incident in Merrimack Valley. The second panel consisted of PHMSA Administrator ...
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On April 2 and 4, John Erickson participated on behalf of APGA in a meeting of the Distribution Contractor’s Association (DCA) Operator Qualification Integrity Program (OQIP) task force in Nashville. In 2016, the DCA established this task force to investigate whether and how the industry can improve the OQ process and provide more consistency in compliance with operator qualification (OQ) programs, specifically requirements for contractors working for operators. Under the OQ rule, pipeline operators are held responsible for compliance with the OQ rule, so they often insist that contractors who work on their pipeline meet their strict requirements, without exception, ...
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On April 2 and 3, the American Petroleum Institute (API) Recommended Practice (RP) 1162: Public Awareness Programs work group met to continue their discussions on a third edition of the document. John Erickson is officially on the work group, but Erin Kurilla participated on his behalf. There are several themes being addressed in the latest version of API RP 1162: a narrowing and refining required safety messages; an openness to collaboration on the development of messages and their delivery methods; and, a consideration for consistency in program evaluation. In each of these areas, APGA staff have well represented membership’s positions and concerns related ...
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