Ensure that Pipeline Safety and Damage Prevention is a Shared Responsibility of Utility Owners, Locators, and Contractors
- The Pipeline Safety (PIPES) Act of 2006 played a central role in securing provisions that established equitable enforcement of damage prevention laws for all stakeholders in the one-call process, and worked to secure funding for critical technology and awareness programs such as "811" one call centers. AGC supports the shared responsibility model created by the Common Ground Alliance which holds contractors, underground facility owners, locating companies, and other stakeholders (i.e. one call centers, other excavators who aren't "contractors") responsible for preventing damage of underground facilities.
- Enforcement Must Be Balanced. The PIPES Act gave the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) limited "backstop" authority to conduct civil enforcement against one-call violators in a state that has failed to do so effectively if certain conditions are met. PHMSA must undertake rulemaking to establish procedures for declaring a state's enforcement inadequate, which is a prerequisite to federal civil enforcement against a one-call law in that state. Enforcement programs should be based on a damage prevention law that designates a specific state agency as the primary authority for enforcement, specifies each stakeholder group's responsibilities, and focuses on consistent enforcement that sends a strong message regarding compliance that is fair, transparent and accountable.
- Damage Prevention is a Shared Responsibility. PHMSA's approach to selecting the criteria for state adequacy should use criteria that all stakeholders will support. Section 7.0 "Compliance" of the Common Ground Alliance Best Practices Version 6.0 (March, 2009) is consensus based among stakeholders and should play a part in criteria development.