October 29, 2015 - Special Meeting

The Special Meeting of the Montour Township Board of Supervisors was called to order on October 29, 2015 at 6:30 p.m., by Chairman Gerald Powers.  All members were present.

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

A Moment of Silence was observed.

This meeting was held to relay information to the public concerning the State and Federal agencies involvement in the regulation of pipeline distribution and transmission lines.

Dr. Powers explained the Pipeline Taskforce that he is involved in.  It was created by Governor Wolf and was named the Public Infrastructure Task Force.  There are 48 members with 12 work groups.  The purpose of the task force was to prepare for pipeline projects that are already in existence and the new ones that are coming.  It has since changed to include the whole gas industry.  Dr. Powers is involved in the Public Participation group of the Task Force.

Paul Metro, Division Chief for the PUC and the PUC Solicitor were to attend this meeting, however, Mr. Metro was working with the Governor and they could not attend. 

Mike Chilek, Regional Gas Safety Supervisor, presented a power point presentation on gas pipeline safety.

Gas regulation started in the 1960’s with Act 192.  There have been many amendments and additions to these regulations. 

Mr. Chilek’s department monitors compliance for the Federal & State regulations.

He mentioned the types of fuels they inspect, Natural Gas, Propane, Hazardous Liquids and Landfill Gas. 

This department has 14 Engineers and there are 47,561 miles of distribution piping, 10,000 miles of transmission lines and 42 distribution operators.  There are 26,595 miles of services that covers 3.5 million gas customers.  There are 104 gathering line operators/transmission operators. 

Mr. Chilek mentioned areas of concern are:  They have no Class 1 gathering jurisdiction and there are 12,000 miles of unprotected bare steel/cast iron lines.

Mr. Chilek commented that the PAPUC is the only state agency with certified Gas Safety Engineer Inspectors.

Terry Hoover Thanked Mr. Chilek for his presentation then asked if he could give a little more information on the proposed pipeline from the perspective of his agency. 

Mr. Chilek responded that the proposed line id a federal line and is under PHMSA for the construction, ongoing operations & maintenance and in the future the integrity management. 

Linda Woodward asked if the PUC inspects as the pipe is going in the ground or after it is in the ground for safety issues.

Mr. Chilek responded that yes they inspect during construction.  Ms. Woodward then asked what they look for.  Mr. Chilek said they look at the qualifications of the welders, specifications of the pipe, construction practices and the inspectors are there when the pipe goes in the ground.  Also after, they look at the operation maintenance records. 

Ms. Woodward asked if the PUC had any mapping of existing pipelines.  Mr. Chilek stated that because of safety reasons the mapping is not publicized.  He also stated that all lines must be marked. 

Mr. Mullen asked with all of the new machines for inspections, how were the flaws missed that caused the pipeline to rupture in the summer.  Mr. Chilek responded that he is not sure if that pipe was able to be inspected because of the type of pipe it is. 

Tim Mauk asked how deep the lines are placed in the ground.  Mr. Chilek said the transmission lines are usually 48 inches down.  Mr. Mullen asked if a Municipal official would have the opportunity to go to the site and view the construction on their own.  Mr. Chilek said that they could try, but the people on the project might not allow it. Mr. Mullen then asked what the qualifications for the PUC inspectors are.  It was stated that an Engineering background is required. 

Dr. Powers mentioned that the Township has a recently adopted ordinance concerning the gas pipeline and he asked if it can be enforced.

Alex Dankanich, representative from PHMSA (Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration), stated that it cannot be enforced if it the pipeline is a federally involved pipeline because it is federally regulated.  Mr. Chilek stated that he was not sure if it could be enforce on the state level. 

Alex Dankanich, representative from PHMSA (Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) then gave a presentation from the federal level. 

He passed out brochures with the information he is discussing. 

Mr. Dankanich mentioned that there are 2.6 million miles of natural gas & hazardous liquid lines in the US.  That is enough to circle the earth 100 times.

Some of PHMSA’s rolls and responsibilities are: the development & implementation of federal pipeline safety regulations. To ensure compliance with these regulations and also perform comprehensive inspections & investigate pipeline accidents and failures. The monitor and enforce compliance. 

Mr. Dankanich mentioned that his agency does not approve pipeline projects or routes, they do not issue pipeline operating permits and they do not regulate commercial or residential development along the pipeline. 

Connie Giger asked if there is any regulation on how close the pipeline can be constructed to her home. Mr. Dankanich said they do not have a regulation.

Mr. Mauk asked if there was anything Mrs. Giger could if to keep it from being built so close to her home. Mr. Dankanich stated that she should contact FERC. She stated that she has, several times. 

Mr. Dankanich gave his contact information if anyone had any questions or concerns in the future.  His information is as follows:

                        Alex Dankanich PHMSA (Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration)

                        202-550-0481

                        This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

                        Karen Gentile

                        609-989-2252

There was much more discussion of the pipeline construction and regulations.

Dr. Powers thanked everyone involved in setting this meeting up and expressed his appreciation.

There being no further business to discuss, the Meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m., on a MOTION of Mr. Mullen, seconded by Ms. Ebright. Motion carried.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

Theresa Hampton

Township Secretary

 

Danielle Berkes

Township Clerk