Pipeline safety bill dead in 2015 Kentucky legislature - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Pipeline safety bill dead in 2015 Kentucky legislature

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- A sweeping pipeline safety bill is dead for this session of the Kentucky General Assembly due to concerns about whether it would apply to utilities serving homes and businesses, the measure's chief sponsor said Tuesday.

House Bill 272 was meant to target companies with large transmission pipelines carrying natural gas between cities or pipes moving crude oil and natural gas liquids, which could seep undetected into the ground during a leak, said Rep. David Floyd, R-Bardstown.

Among other things, the bill would have created a safety fund by charging operators $120 for each mile of pipeline in the state, producing an estimated $3 million per year. The measure is co-sponsored by House Democratic Reps. Terry Mills of Lebanon and Tom Riner of Louisville.

But Floyd said some utilities questioned whether the bill, as it written, exempted them. As a result, he said he plans to amend the measure on the House floor – creating a version of the bill that can be discussed before the legislature meets in 2016.

The House Tourism Development and Energy Committee plans to discuss the amended bill between sessions, Rep. John Short, the panel's chairman, said in a brief interview. Floyd said Short intends, “with the approval of leadership, to have a hearing during the interim (session) so that all parties can come and sit at the table.”

“Those who were initially opposed, those who provide the utilities directly to the consumer —they're going to be satisfied with this bill,” Floyd said.

Asked about the bill, Short, D-Mallie, said, “I just have to look at it a little more closely.”

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Floyd's legislation would increase oversight for pipelines like the natural gas line operated by Columbia Gulf Transmission that ruptured last February near Knifley, Ky., destroying several homes and causing estimated damages of $1.8 million. The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is still investigating that incident.

The Kentucky Public Service Commission would have increased power to inspect Columbia Gulf's line and other interstate pipe, under Floyd's bill.

The measure also would step up monitoring for projects such as a natural gas line Kinder Morgan Energy Partners is seeking to convert to carry natural gas byproducts from the northeast to plants in the Gulf Coast.

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