California lawmakers pass in-state gas system methane emissions bill

The California Senate passed a bill aimed at curbing methane emissions from intrastate natural gas pipelines and local distribution systems. SB 1371, which was approved by 23 to 11 votes on Aug. 27, passed the state’s Assembly a day earlier by 57 to 20 votes. It now heads to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown (D) for final action.

The measure would require that each in-state gas pipeline and local distribution company file a report as soon as possible that would include a summary of utility leak management practices, a list of new methane leaks in 2013 by grade, a list of open leaks that are being monitored or are scheduled to be repaired, and a best estimate of gas loss due to leaks.

California’s Public Utilities Commission would be required to begin a proceeding by Jan. 15, 2015, in consultation with the state’s Air Resources Board, to adopt rules and procedures which would:

• Provide for the maximum technologically feasible and cost-effective avoidance, reduction, and repair of leaks and leaking components in CPUC-regulated intrastate gas transmission and distribution lines within a reasonable time after discovery.

• Provide for the repair of such leaks as soon as possible after discovery, consistent with established safety requirements and the goals of reducing air pollution and the climate change impacts of methane emissions.

• Evaluate the operations, maintenance, and repair practices for those facilities to determine whether existing practices are effective at reducing methane leaks and promoting public safety, achieve the bill’s goals, and whether alternative practices may be more effective.

• Establish and require the use of best practices for leak surveys, patrols, leak survey technology, leak prevention, and leak reduction.

The bill also would establish protocols and procedures for the development and use of metrics to quantify the volume of emissions from leaking gas lines and for evaluating and tracking leaks geographically.

These would be incorporated into a gas corporation’s operating plan for its CPUC-regulated transmission or distribution pipelines, or into other state emissions tracking systems, or both, including CARB regulations for reporting greenhouse gases. The metrics would be required to provide operators, the commission, and the public with accurate information about the number and severity of leaks and about the quantity of gas that is emitted into the atmosphere over time.

Intrastate pipeline and local distribution system owners also would be required, to the extent feasible, to calculate and report to both CPUC and CARB a baseline system-wide leak rate, to periodically update that calculation, and to annually report measures that will be taken the following year to reduce the leak rate to achieve SB 1371’s goals.

The bill also would make CPUC consider specified topics in a manner consistent with its existing ratemaking procedures and authority to establish just and reasonable rates.

“In order to protect public health and the environment, we must keep natural gas in the pipes where it belongs as opposed to letting it leak into the air,” said Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), the bill’s main sponsor. “SB 1371 serves this dual purpose by ensuring that leaking gas pipes are repaired quickly and in a cost-efficient manner for consumers.”

California is the nation’s second-largest gas consumer, with more than 100,000 miles of pipes and other equipment delivering the fuel to customers across the state, he noted. The legislature’s approval of the bill reinforces California’s leadership in reducing emissions that contribute to climate change, with the added benefit of eliminating waste of a critical energy resource, Leno said.

SB 1371 was supported by the American Lung Association’s California chapter, Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, BlueGreen Alliance, Union of Concerned Scientists, and other environmental and consumer groups. Tim O’Conner, who directs EDF’s California Climate Strategy, called the vote “a huge step towards the build-out of comprehensive strategy in California to reduce methane pollution.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

EPA approves Magellan’s Corpus Christi splitter project

12/12/2014 The US Environmental Protection Agency has issued a final greenhouse gas prevention of significant deterioration construction permit to Magellan Pr...

Keyera to take majority interest in Alberta gas plant

12/12/2014 Keyera Corp., Calgary, will pay $65 million (Can.) to buy a 70.79% ownership interest in the Ricinus deep-cut gas plant in west-central Alberta.

PBF Energy, PBF Logistics make management changes

12/12/2014 Matthew Lucey, currently executive vice-president of PBF Energy Inc., will succeed Michael Gayda as the company’s president. Todd O’Malley, current...

TAEP: TPI still peaking, but ‘contraction unavoidable’ as oil prices fall

12/12/2014 The Texas Petro Index (TPI), a composite index based on a comprehensive group of upstream economic indicators released by the Texas Alliance of Ene...

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil price extends slump

12/12/2014 Crude oil prices extended their slump on the New York market with a Dec. 11 settlement of less than $60/bbl for January, and prices continued downw...

US needs more data before ending crude export ban, House panel told

12/11/2014 Much more environmental impact information is needed before the US can reasonably remove crude oil export limits, a witness told a House Energy and...

BOEM raises offshore oil spill liability limit to $134 million

12/11/2014 The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management increased the liability limit for oil-spill related damages from offshore operations to $134 million from ...

Rosneft, Essar sign terms of oil supply agreement

12/11/2014 OAO Rosneft and Essar Energy PLC have signed key terms of an oil supply agreement in New Delhi. Rosneft said shipments to India may begin in 2015.

Barton introduces bill to remove US crude export limits

12/11/2014

US Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) introduced legislation that would remove US crude oil export limits that have been in place for nearly 40 years.

White Papers

AVEVA NET Accesses and Manages the Digital Asset

Global demand for new process plants, power plants and infrastructure is increasing steadily with the ...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Approach for the Digital Asset

To meet the requirements for leaner project execution and more efficient operations while transferring...
Sponsored by

Diversification - the technology aspects

In tough times, businesses seek to diversify into adjacent markets or to apply their skills and resour...
Sponsored by

Engineering & Design for Lean Construction

Modern marketing rhetoric claims that, in order to cut out expensive costs and reduce risks during the...
Sponsored by

Object Lessons - Why control of engineering design at the object level is essential for efficient project execution

Whatever the task, there is usually only one way to do it right and many more to do it wrong. In the c...
Sponsored by

Plant Design for Lean Construction - at your fingertips

One area which can provide improvements to the adoption of Lean principles is the application of mobil...
Sponsored by

How to Keep Your Mud System Vibrator Hose from Getting Hammered to Death

To prevent the vibrating hoses on your oilfield mud circulation systems from failing, you must examine...
Sponsored by

Duty of Care

Good corporate social responsibility means implementing effective workplace health and safety measures...
Sponsored by

Available Webcasts


On Demand

Optimizing your asset management practices to mitigate the effects of a down market

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

The oil and gas market is in constant flux, and as the price of BOE (Barrel of Oil Equivalent) goes down it is increasingly important to optimize your asset management strategy to stay afloat.  Attend this webinar to learn how developing a solid asset management plan can help your company mitigate costs in any market.

register:WEBCAST


Parylene Conformal Coatings for the Oil & Gas Industry

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

In this concise 30-minute webinar, participants have an opportunity to learn more about how Parylene coatings are applied, their features, and the value they add to devices and components.

register:WEBCAST


Utilizing Predictive Analytics to Optimize Productivity in Oil & Gas Operations

Tue, Nov 18, 2014

Join IBM on Tuesday, November 18 @ 1pm CST to explore how Predictive Analytics can help your organization maximize productivity, operational performance & associated processes to drive enterprise wide productivity and profitability.

register:WEBCAST


US HYDROCARBON EXPORTS Part 3 — LNG

Fri, Nov 14, 2014

US LNG Exports, the third in a trilogy of webcasts focusing on the broad topic of US Hydrocarbon Exports.

A discussion of the problems and potential for the export of US-produced liquefied natural gas.

These and other topics will be discussed, with the latest thoughts on U.S. LNG export policy.

register:WEBCAST


Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected