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senate Bill S. 1768

Should States be Able to Inspect Their Interstate Gas Storage Facilities?

Argument in favor

It makes no sense for the federal government to prevent state inspectors from enforcing safety requirements at underground gas storage facilities simply because the natural gas is transported between states.

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01/10/2016
The US Constitution gives powers to the States to handle this very issue... America is a country of 320 million citizens. It is inconceivable for a central power, like the Federal Government, to manage the uniqueness of each States individual plights.
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Tim's Opinion
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01/09/2016
It's in their state it should be their responsibility,the Feds need to let the states control what happens in their state.
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AndrewGVN's Opinion
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01/08/2016
I believe giving the states the ability to do this is perfectly fine, as the bill states that the state governments would have to develop inspection plans with the DOT and PHMSA.
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Argument opposed

The federal government is perfectly capable of monitoring safety requirements at underground gas storage facilities. There’s no need for states to have the ability to conduct inspections and enforce safety standards.

Steven's Opinion
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01/09/2016
I wouldn't mind seeing a joint effort, but having the state supplant federal authority and or guidelines makes no sense to me.
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J. scott's Opinion
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01/11/2016
No it works fine as is and federal inspectors represent our "national" interest not the narrow interests of a given state.
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Clinton's Opinion
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01/11/2016
How many times do things need to be regulated?
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What is Senate Bill S. 1768?

This bill would allow states to enforce federal pipeline safety requirements at wellbores (or the drilled holes into the earth) at underground natural gas storage facilities. Federal regulations currently prevent states from carrying out inspections at facilities where natural gas is shipped interstate.

States could develop inspection plans in consultation with the Dept. of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to monitor wellbores at interstate gas storage facilities.

Impact

State and federal agencies that monitor safety requirements at underground gas storage facilities, people living near gas storage facilities or their pipelines, air quality, pollution, the DOT, and the PHMSA.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 1768

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

Of Note: A leaky well at an underground gas storage facility in California began releasing methane (the primary component of natural gas) in October 2015, and the leak not expected to be stopped until the early months of 2016 when relief wells are completed in February and March. California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency on January 6, 2015. In the month of November alone, the leak accounted for 25 percent of the state of California’s methane emissions.

In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) highlighted the potentially tragic consequences of a failure to monitor safety standards at natural gas storage facilities in a press release introducing this legislation:

“It’s been over 10 years since we lost two lives to a gas explosion in Hutchinson, and the federal government is still nowhere to be found... We need strong oversight in the storage of natural gas reserves, and in the absence of federal leadership, the state must be allowed to step up and protect its people. Inaction opens the door for a real tragedy, so we must act and put our faith in our own people on the ground to protect their families, friends, and neighbors.”

In 2011, a Kansas law related to inspections at underground gas storage facilities was struck down by a federal court — and during the following 18 months the state was prevented from carrying out inspections, while federal agencies chose not to conduct any.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user EARTHWORKS action)

AKA

Underground Gas Storage Facility Safety Act of 2015

Official Title

A bill to authorize States to enforce safety requirements related to wellbores at interstate storage facilities.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
    IntroducedJuly 15th, 2015
    The US Constitution gives powers to the States to handle this very issue... America is a country of 320 million citizens. It is inconceivable for a central power, like the Federal Government, to manage the uniqueness of each States individual plights.
    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
    I wouldn't mind seeing a joint effort, but having the state supplant federal authority and or guidelines makes no sense to me.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    It's in their state it should be their responsibility,the Feds need to let the states control what happens in their state.
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    I believe giving the states the ability to do this is perfectly fine, as the bill states that the state governments would have to develop inspection plans with the DOT and PHMSA.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    No it works fine as is and federal inspectors represent our "national" interest not the narrow interests of a given state.
    Like (3)
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    Yes, states should be able to inspect these storage facilities. Beside the fact that our Federal Government has a very poor track record inspecting or repairing our bridges or roadways. History will ask why the Feds have failed with immigration or the protection of citizens.
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    Get the federal government out of the states responsibilities.
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    Power to the states
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    States should have every right to be able to inspect and enforce safety standards within their borders. State governments would also be far more effective in regulating and conducting inspections, and to their own state standard, than a federal government would be able to.
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    As long as all the states involved have the same inspection criteria, they should do all the inspection. Get the FED out of the loop.
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    It's high time the federal government stop getting larger and larger. The states are fully capable of managing themselves.
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    Many natural gas pipelines compromise environmental protection mandates and property rights within states, but go unchecked by the EPA or any other federal agency. States should have say in everything that runs through them.
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    States' rights issue. Let the States take care of themselves. The Feds job is protecting our right to do that, not telling us how we should be doing things.
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    How many times do things need to be regulated?
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    Bill provides states must meet federal standards. Having 2 sets of inspectors is better than one underfunded one.
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    More accountability for everyone involved. What's not to like?
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    Yes, I like the idea of state and federal oversite. More folks to hold responsible if something goes wrong.
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    The States should be able to inspecthe any facility within their borders.
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    It is necessary so Yea is the Answer !
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    The federal government over and over again has proved unable to do much of anything correctly.
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