District 3 Oklahoma County Commissioner, Ray Vaughn, R-Edmond, will serve on a panel studying issues related to pipeline safety and prevention of excavation damage.
In May, Gov. Mary Fallin signed an executive order establishing an 11-member Pipelines Safety Task Force consisting of at least eight operators of pipeline facilities and excavators regulated by relevant state and federal law. House and Senate leaders were to appoint one legislator each to serve as ex-officio members of the task force.
Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy, R-Edmond, is the task force chair, and Ponca City Mayor Homer Nicholson, Oklahoma Municipal League past president, is vice chair.
The task force seeks to bring Oklahoma into compliance with federal standards “aimed at protecting the public, construction workers and the nation’s pipeline infrastructure particularly during construction periods that require excavation or demolition,” Vaughn said.
It is also reviewing the need to authorize the Corporation Commission to take enforcement action regarding prohibited practices such as excavation or demolition by an excavator without first notifying all operators in the geographic area as required by law and failure by an excavator to employ excavation or demolition procedures specified by law.
A report detailing results of the assessment and any recommendations are to be sent to the governor and legislative leaders no later than Dec. 1.
If the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has not issued final rules in docket No. PHMSA-2009-0192 by Dec. 1, the task force is to publish its preliminary findings on Dec. 1 and a final report 30 days after the issuance of final rules.
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