WEST virginia Legislature
2016 regular session
Senate Bill 445
By Senators Cole (Mr.
President) And Kessler
(By Request of the Executive)
Referred to the Committee on Energy, Industry and Mining; and then to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §15-5C-1 and §15-5C-2, all relating to the reporting of emergency incidents by well operators and pipeline operators; defining terms; establishing reporting requirements; establishing obligations of local emergency telephone operators; providing for recording and handling of calls; setting forth administrative civil penalty; and providing appeal process.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §15-5C-1 and §15-5C-2, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 5C. REPORTING OF EMERGENCY INCIDENTS BY WELL AND PIPELINE OPERATORS.
When used in this article:
(1) “Director” means the Director of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.
(2) “Incident” means:
(A) The death of an individual at a well, well pad or pipeline facility;
(B) An injury to an individual at a well, well pad or pipeline facility that has a reasonable potential to cause death;
(C) The entrapment of an individual;
(D) The unplanned ignition or explosion of oil, natural gas or other substance at a well, well pad or pipeline facility;
(E) An unplanned fire in or about a well, well pad or pipeline facility not extinguished within five minutes of ignition; or
(F) Any release of poisonous or explosive substances that have a reasonable potential to cause death.
(3) “Pipeline facility” means, without limitation, new and existing pipe, pipe rights-of-way and any equipment, facility, or building used in the transportation of oil or natural gas or the treatment of oil or natural gas during the course of transportation.
(4) “Pipeline operator” means any person or persons, firm, partnership, independent contractor, company or corporation that constructs, maintains or operates a pipeline facility.
(5) “Well” means any shaft or hole sunk, drilled, bored or dug into the earth or into underground strata for the extraction or injection or placement of any liquid, oil or natural gas, or any shaft or hole sunk or used in conjunction with such extraction or injection or placement. The term “well” does not include any shaft or hole sunk, drilled, bored or dug into the earth for the sole purpose of core drilling or pumping or extracting therefrom potable, fresh or usable water for household, domestic, industrial, agricultural or public use.
(6) “Well operator” means any person or persons, firm, partnership, independent contractor, company or corporation that drills or engages in hydraulic fracturing for any liquid, oil or natural gas, or that completes or operates wells to produce any liquid, oil or natural gas.
§15-5C-2. Reporting requirements.
(a) In addition to any other requirements imposed by law, all pipeline operators and well operators shall report incidents to the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management at the Mine and Industrial Accident Call Center at 1-866-987-2338, or other number identified by the director within fifteen minutes of ascertaining the occurrence of an incident at a well, well pad or pipeline facility. Pipeline operators and well operators may satisfy this requirement by contacting the local emergency telephone system and reporting the information required by this section.
(b) Contents of report:
(1) The initial report shall include the following minimum information:
(A) The name, title, and business affiliation of the individual making the report;
(B) The identification and location of the well, well pad or pipeline facility; and
(C) Notification that an incident has occurred.
(2) If the caller has ready access to the following information, he or she shall also provide:
(A) Then-available information concerning the nature and extent of the incident, including any information that concerns the existence or nonexistence of potential threats to the public health;
(B) In the event of an unplanned fire that cannot be contained within fifteen minutes, explosion or release, preliminary information regarding the type of substance involved and, if a release, the estimated amount released, if known; and
(C) The name, title, business affiliation, and contact information of the individual designated to serve as a contact person on behalf of the pipeline operator or well operator.
(c) Any local emergency telephone system receiving an initial notification shall immediately forward all information received to the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management at the Mine and Industrial Accident Call Center at 1-866-987-2338, or other number identified by the director.
(d) All calls received by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management at the Mine and Industrial Accident Call Center shall be recorded for documentation purposes. Recording of calls shall be automatic, and the recorded call information, including time of call and complete voice transcripts, shall be made available to the public.
(e) The director shall impose a civil administrative penalty of $50,000 on the pipeline operator or well operator if it is determined that the pipeline operator or well operator failed to give immediate notice as required by this section: Provided, That the director may waive imposition of the civil administrative penalty if he or she finds that the failure to give immediate notice:
(1) Was caused by circumstances wholly outside the control of the pipeline operator or well operator;
(2) Occurred because the pipeline operator or well operator was attempting to stabilize the incident;
(3) Occurred because the pipeline operator or well operator was rendering emergency assistance; or
(4) Resulted from the incident occurring in a communications gap area and notice was provided within fifteen minutes of reestablishing communication.
(f) Any pipeline operator or well operator aggrieved by the imposition of a civil administrative penalty may request the director to reconsider within thirty days. If reconsideration is denied, the pipeline operator or well operator has a right of appeal to the circuit court of Kanawha County, West Virginia.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require well operators and pipeline operators to report certain emergency incidents to the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management within fifteen minutes, unless exceptions apply.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.