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Compliance was the theme of a presentation the Distribution Contractors Association (DCA) gave to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) at their Winter Conference in Washington D.C. on February 15, 2016. Steve Canestrini, Operator Qualification Manager for INTREN, was a member of the panel for this presentation. 

The presentation educated policymakers at the federal and state levels on the increasingly important role played by contractors in the construction and replacement of the nation’s natural gas pipeline infrastructure. The first topic was on horizontal directional drilling (HDD). The presentation laid out the benefits of using this technology, along with safe practices to follow. Along with this topic, the discussion covered cross bores and their continual use as a concern in the industry as contractors are often in position to address this issue when encountered in the field. The DCA believes government also has a role to play in supporting safety of the public when it comes to damage prevention.  The DCA is asking to ensure all states not exempt municipalities from One-Call membership, along with marking their facilities which include the main and laterals. 

The panel also discussed the impacts of the pending PHMSA’s Post-Construction Inspection Rule legislation.  Although this legislation has been temporarily suspended, the legislation as currently written will not allow for self-inspection of critical tasks and will include contractors and operators in this rule. The DCA fully supports not allowing a person to self-inspect their own work.  As a matter of public safety, the DCA also believes any person who works on a natural gas pipeline should be included as part of this rule.

The feedback from NARUC on these topics was very positive. The DCA continues to help educate and work with all federal, state, and industry associations towards ensuring the safe operation of our nation’s natural gas pipelines. For more information about the DCA, visit dcaweb.org.