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Early last month, INTREN joined representatives from the Distribution Contractors Association (DCA) in Washington D.C. where they met with representatives from the American Gas Association (AGA), Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), and committees from the House and U.S. Senate.  Steve Canestrini, Operator Qualification Manager, joined in the discussions that revolved around the pending legislation that would reauthorize the upcoming Pipeline Safety Bill which will impact the gas industry and gas contractors. These representatives also engaged in educating the committees on the role contractors perform in pipeline construction for the gas industry and presented their recommendations for the pending legislation. 

Cross-Bore Initiative:  Cross bores remain a significant problem facing the distribution construction industry.  As part of this initiative, we are asking the regulators to treat the entity that produces revenue from the service laterals be responsible for locating and marking that facility.  The DCA also believes that exemptions from one call memberships be applied in the same manner as one call notification.

Post Construction Audits:  The initial resolution was aimed specifically at contractors who perform transmission and main installations and that they should be prohibited from inspecting their own work.  As the legislation currently stands, it will now include contractors and operators of the pipeline who perform construction activities.

Comprehensive Energy Reform:  The DCA supports the pipeline permitting language that is under consideration in the energy debate that includes streamlining the pipeline permitting process to ensure critical projects get off the ground. 

Proposed Rule on Operator Qualifications:  The DCA supports the inclusion of construction to the list of qualified tasks and supports all efforts to enhance the “portability” of contractor OQ programs. 

The DCA and its members continue to work with the committees from the House and U.S. Senate and regulatory agencies to support the reauthorization of the Pipeline Safety Bill, along with proposed regulations that impact the gas utility industry.