State pipeline safety legislation proposed by Comitta

CHESTER, July 19 – State Rep. Carolyn Comitta, D-Chester, has announced plans to introduce three new pieces of legislation that would bolster the state’s ability to protect private wells for its citizens, enhance interagency communication and create pipeline siting authority.

 

These bills follow her recent announcement calling for a state Pipeline Safety and Communication Board.

 

“After reading the Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force Report from February 2016 and speaking with residents, municipal officials, first responders, the secretary of Department of Environmental Protection and the chair of the Public Utility Commission, it was clear to me that we could be doing a lot more to ensure better communication and safety as it pertains to pipelines,” Comitta said. “Talking with these agency heads helped to identify what was needed and areas where legislation would be helpful to them. I am happy to respond to this need.”

 

The first bill would address the PUC’s lack of siting authority for intrastate pipelines.

 

A second bill would amend the PUC Confidential Security Information Disclosure Protection Act in order to permit agencies to communicate sensitive information with each other. The disclosure act was passed after 9/11 with the intent to protect information from getting into the wrong hands; however, it overreaches and restricts sharing of certain information between agencies, an unintended consequence, Comitta said.

 

A third bill would grant the DEP enforcement of drilling regulations around private wells.