On Monday, December 31, 2018, the Senate passed An Act ensuring the safety and soundness of the commonwealth’s natural gas infrastructure, previously passed by the House, and Governor Baker signed it into law as Chapter 339 of the Acts of 2018.
This law included an emergency preamble and took effect immediately. Chapter 339 of the Acts of 2018, An Act Further Providing for the Safety of the Commonwealth’s Natural Gas Infrastructure (“Act”). Section 2 of the Act amends G.L. c. 164 by adding Section 148, which provides:
"Any engineering plans or specifications for engineering work or services that could pose a material risk to public safety, as determined by the [Department of Public Utilities (“Department”)] pursuant to clause (l) of section 81R of chapter 112, developed by or on behalf of a gas company shall bear the stamp of a professional engineer certified under section 81E of said chapter 112; provided, however, that any such plan or specification shall be housed within the applicable gas company, subject to review and audit by the department, and shall be deemed to be filed with a public authority within the meaning of section 81M of said chapter 112. Section 2 of the Act further states that the Department may promulgate regulations as necessary to implement G.L. c. 164, § 148 (“Section 148”) and applicable provisions of subsection (l) of section 81R of said chapter 112.1"
Gas companies are required to have PEs in responsible charge of certain gas projects. Some routine work has been going on in consultation with PEs, but now the regulatory process is ramping up.
The Straw Proposal is attached along with their order on this matter. DPU seeks initial written comments on the Straw Proposal by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 4, 2019, Reply written comments are due no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 11, 2019. Written comments are limited in length to a maximum of ten one-sided, double-spaced typewritten pages. Based on the comments received, the Department will establish a further procedural schedule that may provide for technical sessions.
DPU anticipates that this proceeding will result in a rulemaking conducted pursuant to G.L. c. 30A, § 2, and 220 CMR 2.00, to establish regulations for the use of professional engineers by natural gas companies.
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