Fuel Accident Prevention & Response Team

Meeting Summaries



Team Meetings

July 28, 1999
SeaTac, WA

The meeting was convened by Acting Chair Mark Asmundson, Mayor of Bellingham, at a meeting room in Sea-Tac Airport at 8:30 a.m.

After a brief discussion regarding the focus of the Task Force’s initial efforts, Mayor Asmundson expressed the group’s consensus thatthe primary focus should initially be on pipelines; alternative transportation modes could be considered for additional focus later in the Task Force’s proceedings. The focus on pipelines appears to be necessitated because of the relatively short time in which the Task Force is to develop recommendations.

Mayor Asmundson read a letter from Laura Hartman (Pilchuck Audubon Society) concerning environmental organization membership in the Task Force and requesting clear opportunities for public participation during meetings. The Team reaffirmed its previous determination that membership at this time should be limited to those appointed by the Governor but that clear and continuing opportunities for public participation would be provided.

The draft agenda for today’s meeting was amended to allow time for public comment.

A web site for the Task Force has been established at: http://www.governor.wa.gov/taskcomm/faprt/faprt.htm.

Representatives of the natural gas industry made a 90-minute presentation on their distribution system from high-pressure transmission lines to the very low-pressure delivery lines that are buried in our neighborhoods. Additional points that may not be evident from the handouts include:

ARCO representatives gave a presentation about petroleum fuel pipelines, entitled Transportation System Overview. In addition to items covered in their handouts, they explained the process of exchanging or trading product with other shippers to avoid transportation costs. For example, a shipper in Washington trades with a competitor in California for product (instead of the product being physically transported to that market).

Normally ARCO accounts for 1/3 of the shipments on the Olympic Pipeline (OPL), but with the Ferndale to Allen segment ruptured, their shipments are down. Crude runs have diminished from about 8.5 million gallons a day to around 6 million gallons. They are now shipping 15% via pipeline and 70% via ship & barge. They are 15% over capacity so are running additional ships and barges to satisfy demand. They also are running about 90 trucks per day. Typically that number is 40. Before the incident they only occasionally barged to Seattle, but that has increased now.

The EPA is currently doing a multimedia review of the ARCO facilities.

ARCO offered the task force a tour of their facilities.

Zack Barrett with the federal Office of Pipeline Safety offered to provide the Team with copies of relevant OPS reports at their next meeting.

Richard Kuperwicz of Accufacts, Inc. provided a presentation on the manner in which petroleum product pipelines operate. Among points that he made that may not be evident from his handout materials are the following:

Steve Hunter (Washington Department of Ecology) provided a summary of spill statistics.

Dennis Lloyd, WUTC, provided a summary of natural gas line leak statistics, including the following information involving four interstate gas transmission incidents in Washington caused by "outside forces (landslides)" due to the increase in rain and ground water on Northwest Pipeline Corporation facilities:

Other incidents occurring at Northwest Pipeline Corporation facilities:


After the presentations, there was some discussion by Team members. Mary Corso stated that she perceived that there were two types of gaps that merited the group’s focus: gaps in available data and gaps in the regulatory framework. Regarding data gaps, she noted that there is not good Washington State data on the spill histories of interstate pipelines operating in the State and that the Washington State Patrol cannot document the number of hazardous materials movements per day on state highways. Mary stated that we need to have a data collection system that considers not just the frequency of spills but the volume and consequence. Plus, we should have both national and regional data and better records of the causes of various spills.

On logistical matters, the group agreed that it needed a larger space than the present meeting room, preferably at the airport but, if that is not possible, then near the airport.

The group decided that the August 11, 1999 agenda item concerning state regulations should include an analysis of the EFSEC statute (which regulates the siting of new pipelines). Kittitas County Commissioner Bill Hinkle stated that he would invite the Deputy Kittitas County Prosecutor who was involved in the Cross Cascade EFSEC proceedings to share his perspective on how the current process works from a local government point of view.

Mary Corso suggested that the four state agencies on the Task Force should ask their Assistant Attorney Generals to examine the legal issues that are arising regarding who has jurisdiction over what.

In response to an inquiry from Susan Harper (Cascade Columbia Alliance Executive Director) that group was requested to submit a proposal by August 11, 1999 regarding non-industry, non-governmental organizations presentations to be made on August 25, 1999.

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 3:30 p.m.

August 11, 1999
Seattle, WA

Members reviewed the key decisions made at their July 28 meeting:

Tom Morrill, Assistant Attorney General, presented a summary of the legal framework regarding federal preemption of state authority for pipeline regulation. Among his key points:

Joe Stohr, Manager of the Spills Program, Department of Ecology, gave a presentation on the current regulatory system for liquid petroleum pipelines. He used a handout.

Some of the key points covered:

 Dennis Lloyd's, Pipeline Safety Manager, Utilities and Transportation Commission, presentation on the current regulatory system for intrastate pipelines included the following points:

Jim Hurson, Kittitas County Deputy Prosecutor, spoke on the flaws in the current system for pipeline siting, based on the County’s experiences in the recent Cross-Cascades Pipeline case before EFSEC. The major problems he cited are:

Tom Morrill also noted several issues surrounding the EFSEC process, including:

Discussion: The Team agreed that a series of questions arose from the presentations and that they should work on developing answers to these:

Ecology’s Program for Liquid Petroleum Pipeline Regulation

 UTC Program for Intrastate Pipeline Regulation:

Legal Issues:

Siting Process:

How can the current siting process be improved with respect to,

The Team discussed and agreed on a purpose statement to define our task: "To improve prevention, preparedness, and response to fuel pipeline incidents in Washington State."

We agreed to establish three subcommittees to better focus our work and to open participation on those subcommittees beyond the Team’s members. The subcommittees will be Prevention and Siting; Preparedness and Response; and Funding.

The August 25 meeting will be at the Seatac Doubletree Hotel and focus on Preparedness and Response, First Responders, and Follow-Up and Restoration after incidents occur. Mary Corso, Glen Woodbury and Joe Stohr volunteered to organize the agenda and arrange for speakers.

The September 8 meeting will include presentations on lessons learned and current regulatory systems in California, Virginia and Minnesota. It will also include presentations by industry and the public interest sector on their views of the shortcomings of the current regulatory system.

Public meetings will be held in Moses Lake, Bellevue and Vancouver where citizens will have an opportunity to present their views on the Team’s work. These will be held in conjunction with Team meetings. Locations will be announced.


August 25, 1999
SeaTac, WA

State Fire Marshal Mary Corso facilitated two panel presentations on disaster preparedness and response. The morning panel featured local government officials.

Robert Johnson, Auburn Fire Chief and Chair of the State Emergency Response Committee, described the work of that Committee, which is now a subcommittee of the State Emergency Management Council. It includes state agencies, a local fire chief, 2 local emergency response representatives and a representative of the transportation industry. The Committee will soon have its first 2 full-time staff members.

Chief Johnson explained the multiple roles of local fire departments in fire suppression, provision of emergency medical response, urban search and rescue, investigations, and education and training. He noted that the structure and funding sources for such agencies varies widely among communities. Ms. Corso noted that 18,000 of the 22,000 fire fighters in WA are volunteers and that 580 of the 650 departments serve populations of 20,000 or less.

While the number of fire response calls are decreasing, the number of hazardous materials calls are increasing. According to a State Patrol survey, 63% of calls relate to transportation, 27% to fixed facilities, 5% to marine incidents and 5% to pipelines. There are 24 publicly funded hazardous material teams around the state and 12 specialized teams. All face serious problems in keeping their staff trained and prepared. Much of the training must be done on overtime.

The major difficulties facing local responders are:

Trudy Winterfeld, Director, Cowlitz County Emergency Management, described the role of emergency management staffs who handle mitigation (efforts to avoid hazards), preparedness, response and recovery. Local capacity varies, but is rarely sufficient to meet the need, particularly since most areas face a large number and variety of hazards. Federal funding assistance is diminishing and it is often difficult to get state and local policy makers to recognize potential dangers and fund preparedness.

Ms. Winterfeld suggested that it would be desirable to:

Dean Mitchell, the Assistant Police Chief of Moses Lake, reiterated the problem local governments face in getting their staff trained to address hazardous materials; funding for such training is particularly difficult to obtain. He noted that state funding assistance is resulting in improved inter-jurisdictional communications and coordination.

State and federal agency representatives spoke during the afternoon session:

Lt. Steve Kalmbach and Glenn Brautaset of the Washington State Patrol’s Fire Protection Bureau described that agency’s work. Their hand-outs display the agency’s structure and mission and describe the mobilization process used for response to major events (such as wildfires). The Fire Marshal has 5 teams around the state, whose members are trained and qualified to respond to national or even international incidents.

Glenn displayed a WA state map showing locations of major pipelines in relation to the location of trained hazmat teams; he expressed concern about the gaps in coverage for response to pipeline incidents. The Fire Protection Bureau operates the Fire Training Academy in North Bend that offers training to local responders on a fee-funded basis; some 5,000 people are being trained annually. Glenn explained that once a mobilization occurs, the Mobilization Incident Commander establishes an Overhead Team to handle operations, logistics, planning and finance. Dave Wakefield of the East Pierce County Fire and Rescue Squad joined in the discussion.

The speakers offered 2 recommendations. One would be to establish a cadre of trained Incident Commanders who can respond to and assist local responders in the first critical hours. This would require identification of funding for training and response capacity. The second is to strengthen first responder training for fire service, law enforcement, emergency management and hazardous materials personnel; this too would necessitate identification of funding sources.

Dave Hodeboom of the Emergency Management Division provided hand-outs giving an overview of the Division and the state’s Fire Services Resource Mobilization Plan. He explained the notification/response procedures, the operation of the Emergency Operations Center and its activation phases, the Division’s liaison with local jurisdictions and the Hazmat training and assistance EMD provides to local jurisdictions.

Steve Hunter of the Department of Ecology’s Spill Preparedness, Prevention and Response Program discussed the penalties Ecology can impose for spills that pollute water. There is a basic penalty up to $10,000 regardless of fault; additional amounts can be charged if the violation is willful, negligent or if the operator fails to clean up promptly. Steve pointed out what his staff sees as the biggest gaps in their program: they are preempted from requiring prevention plans for interstate pipelines, they are seriously underfunded because of the refunds to exporters authorized in the law establishing the barrel tax on imported oil, and their resources are increasingly being diverted to deal with methamphetamine laboratories.

Anthony Barber of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency explained that his agency deals with prevention of spills of oil or hazardous materials from fixed facilities while the U.S. Department of Transportation deals with transportation facilities such as pipelines. EPA gives grants to state and local agencies to help them enhance spill preparedness; they also provide technical experts to assist state and local agencies. He noted that EPA provides training to local government staffs, but recognizes that cost may constrain attendance at such training. In a post-spill situation, the Coast Guard-administered Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund can partially reimburse local expenses; Superfund, administered by EPA, sometimes covers the costs of hazardous material cleanups.

The Team discussed its 3 upcoming meetings to hear public comment on fuel pipeline incident prevention and response. The meetings will be in Bellevue, September 8; Moses Lake, September 16; and Vancouver, September 22. The September 8 and 22 meetings will follow daytime work sessions.

The public comment meetings will run from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Each will follow the same structure:

We reviewed the three subcommittees that will be established; Prevention and Siting, Preparedness and Response, and Funding. Members and alternates were asked to contact Carol Jolly about which subcommittee they wished to serve on and/or chair.


September 8, 1999
Bellevue, WA

Two presentations were given on requirements for operator qualification and training:

Zach Barrett of the federal Office of Pipeline Safety explained the agency's recently (August 1999) adopted regulation and the process used in its development. He noted that under the 1996 Accountable Pipeline Safety and Partnership Act, system operators must be qualified "to safely perform O & M tasks and to recognize and react to abnormal operating conditions." OPS placed its emphasis on having systems establish qualifications rather than on specifying training or testing requirements. Each operator has the flexibility to establish a qualification program and include an evaluation mechanism that ensures ongoing qualification. The regulation is effective in November 1999; by October 2002, all operators must be qualified.

In response to questions, Zach explained that compliance with the regulation will be determined by OPS and state inspectors when they are conducting their regular inspections; these generally occur on a 2 to 3 year cycle. They expect to begin "enforcement" in an education mode and gradually phase in the use of more stringent tools. The adequacy of an operator’s plan or its implementation will be judged by regulatory agency inspectors.

Dennis Lloyd, with the Utilities and Transportation Commission, described Washington’s requirements for operator qualification. State regulations require training for operators and contractors. Such training can occur on-the-job, in classrooms, or in classes offered by equipment manufacturers. These rules apply to 4 gas utilities, 7 industrial gas operators, 3 municipal gas systems, 240 master meter operators, and 7 hazardous liquid pipelines.

Compliance is evaluated by inspectors; large systems are inspected 4 to 5 times per year; for smaller systems, the frequency of inspection is determined by their past performance record. The UTC will soon have 6 engineers working on pipeline safety, including conducting inspections.

A series of speakers then presented different perspectives on the adequacy of the current regulatory system and recommendations for potential improvements. Each provided handouts.

Ben Cooper, Association of Oil Pipelines, and Marty Matheson, American Petroleum Institute, presented the views of liquid fuel pipeline operators. They noted that the 200,000 miles of interstate pipeline carry about 64% of the ton-miles of petroleum transported across the U.S., and that pipelines are the safest and most economical transport mode. Ben reviewed a number of initiatives underway by the industry to improve safety.

Marty provided a handout offering recommendations to the Team. She first emphasized the importance of avoiding pipeline damage by third party excavations and urged the adoption of a single one-call system. She urged support for the voluntary system the Office of Pipeline Safety is instituting with operators to establish uniform mapping coordinates. She recommended that WA better incorporate information about pipeline locations into local land use planning, work with OPS on defining and protecting Unusually Sensitive Areas, and promote cooperative efforts among system operators, federal and state regulators, and an informed public.

During the Q & A period, Ben explained that while OPS only requires reporting of spills of 50 barrels or more, the API and AOP are seeking voluntary reporting of spills of 5 barrels or more in the hope that increased information exchange about causes of such incidents will help improve performance. The industry sees these small spills as potential precursors to larger problems.

Terry Boss, Interstate Natural Gas Association, reviewed the uses and advantages of natural gas over other fuels. His handout explained the current regulatory system for siting and operating natural gas lines and the applicable regulations. Terry emphasized that risk management was a central tool in promoting safety and distributed a report on this topic prepared by the oil and natural gas industries and the OPS. He stressed the large proportion of incidents related to outside force (third-party damage) and emphasized the importance of avoiding this.

Mike Faulkenberry, Avista Corp., explained the views of local gas distribution companies. Residents have more exposure to these lines because they provide individual service, but the lines operate under lower pressure than large lines. Mike described the various regulatory systems covering their operations, stated that they are adequately regulated and concluded that further regulations are not warranted.

Susan Harper, Cascade Columbia Alliance, presented a panel of environmental organization representatives. They began with a video called "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" created in Fredericksburg, Virginia after they experienced 2 pipeline accidents that threatened their drinking water.

Susan urged the Team to pursue regional, liquid fuels, transportation policy and to promote conservation and the use of renewables as a means of reducing the use of liquid fuels. She criticized the exclusion of citizens from government regulatory processes, with particular focus on the process used by the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) in considering an application for a Cross-Cascade Pipeline between 1996 and 1999.

Claudia Newman, a Board Member of the King County Conservation Voters, also said that citizens have too limited a voice, and industry too great a voice in the regulatory process. She cited difficulties she had faced in trying to urge the state UTC to adopt more stringent pipeline safety regulations. Claudia emphasized the value of more stringent regulations, including double-walled pipes and more leak detection equipment. She urged substantial revision of the EFSEC statute to remedy its many procedural flaws. She also urged the Team to press Congress to adopt a stronger pipeline regulation law.

Greg Winter, Safe Bellingham, explained the Regional Citizen Advisory Council established in Prince William Sound Alaska and urged WA to adopt a similar model. He explained that the RCAC was created by federal law following the Exxon Valdez spill and receives over $2 million in funding from the oil industry. Its recommendations go to the Alyeska Company and affect the company’s operations.

Fred Felleman, representing Ocean Advocates, also recommended a regional fuel transportation policy and a reduction in petroleum demand. He criticized the inadequate funding available for the Department of Ecology’s Spill Preparedness and Response Program and urged a change in the statutory provision requiring a refund of the barrel tax for fuel exported from WA. He urged greater citizen oversight to ensure political integrity.

John Philben of the Somerset Neighborhood Association in Bellevue criticized the performance of the Olympic Pipeline Company after its recent spill in Renton. He urged that the state and federal government require more automatic shut-off valves and stressed the value of having OPS adopt the recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Bob Chipkevish of the Safety Board was the next speaker. He reviewed testimony delivered by Board Chairman Jim Hall at a recent congressional hearing and cited the many recommendations the NTSB has made over the years to the OPS, which the latter agency has not adopted. He noted that the NTSB’s top priorities for OPS improvement related to pipeline integrity, training, corrosion protection, valve automation, and excavation damage prevention. He distributed a copy of comments the NTSB had submitted on OPS’s proposed Operator Qualification regulation and stated that the Board did not consider the adopted regulation satisfactory because it does not have sufficient testing requirements to ensure performance.

Zach Barrett, Office of Pipeline Safety, was the final speaker. He cited the history of fatalities, injuries and damages from pipeline incidents in the past 10 years. He noted that the agency’s responses to the NTSB’s recommendations could be viewed on their web site at ops.dot.gov. He stressed the importance of damage prevention in reducing pipeline incidents, since this is the main cause of failures.

September 22, 1999
Vancouver, WA
Clark College

Three speakers devoted the morning to presentations from other jurisdictions:

Jim Pates, City Attorney of Fredericksburg, Virginia Tom Brace, State Fire Marshal and Director, Office of Pipeline Safety, Minnesota Nancy Wolfe, Chief, Hazardous Materials Safety Division, California

Jim Pates described his city’s efforts to enhance the safety of the Colonial Pipeline Company’s line that runs nearby, after 2 line failures contaminated their drinking water supply and the federal Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) provided inadequate response and enforcement. Mr. Pates stressed that OPS’s performance has been inadequate regardless of the political party running the federal executive branch, contending that this is due to industry influence success- fully keeping the agency underfunded and understaffed.
He cited as examples of Office of Pipeline Safetys' failures:

Mr. Pates explained how Virginia decided, with OPS support, to pursue designation as an "agent" for oversight of interstate pipelines. But after the state had invested substantial time and effort in this attempt, OPS advised them it had changed its policy and was no longer accepting additional states as agents. He distributed a handout recounting this history.

Mr. Pates urged the FAPRT to: focus on both liquid fuel and natural gas pipelines, insist on wide rights-of-way when transmission pipelines are sited, take advantage of court decisions supporting state and local rights to impose fees on interstate lines, and press our Congressional delegation and the Administration to reverse the OPS policy precluding designation of additional states as interstate agents.

Tom Brace explained how a commission formed in response to a fatal 1986 accident led to Minnesota’s establishment of a state pipeline safety office, first within the Department of Public Safety and then under the State Fire Marshal. Mr. Brace said that he is less critical of OPS than Mr. Pates, but still believes strongly that states should operate their own safety programs. He also recommends establishing a citizen advisory committee to a state OPS.


Minnesota has, after much effort, mapped all the major interstate pipelines in the state and he strongly urged WA to do this. Mr. Brace emphasized the value of establishing a One-Call Notification system and investing heavily in advertising it; he stressed the importance of large penalties for violations of such a system. He also spoke about the need to establish reasonably large rights-of-way around pipelines and the need to track abandoned as well as active lines.

Minnesota has 19 people in their state OPS, overseeing 50,000 miles of pipeline; 9,000 of those are interstate lines. They are one of 4 states in the country designated as agents for oversight of all hazardous liquid interstate lines. Their budget is funded 56 percent by fees on operators and 44 percent by the federal OPS, although funds from the latter are provided retroactively and are often as much as 9 months late.

Nancy Wolfe explained how California has a different approach to pipeline regulation, with the fire marshal’s office responsible for hazardous liquid pipelines and the Public Utilities Commission responsible for natural gas lines. The California liquid fuel regulatory program covers 8,000 miles of intra- and interstate lines. They use an 8-member advisory committee and find it very valuable. For intrastate lines, California has more stringent standards than the U.S. OPS for hydrostatic testing and risk evaluation. They also require more data for mapping, emergency contacts, and coordination with local emergency responders.


Ms. Wolfe stressed the need to automate data collection as much as possible and to correlate pipeline locations with public facilities (such as schools) and environmental features (such as drinking water sources). She noted that all her agency’s staff are peace officers with enforcement authority, but that they emphasize technical assistance to achieve compliance.

The base funding for their program (about $1.2 million per year) is generated by operator fees; California charges its 80 operators $3,000 each plus $150 mile of pipeline. Because funding from U.S. OPS is so variable and often so late, they do not rely on it for basic operations. Ms. Wolfe emphasized that a state does not receive any additional funds for becoming an interstate pipeline agent, though OPS audits state performance on such lines and can reduce their annual grant if they do not consider the performance satisfactory.

Ms. Wolfe spoke of the benefits of an inter-agency oil spill committee that ensures coordination among the 30 agencies with any related responsibilities. She noted that it is generally desirable to involve local planning and utility officials in the state program. She explained that her state trains pipeline operators and local emergency response staffs, often with assistance from pipeline companies. She urged Washington State to minimize local regulations that would impede a company’s proactively replacing old or inadequate lines.

During the Question and Answer period, the speakers said that laws and regulations should allow for "equivalent" techniques (e.g., smart pig inspections in lieu of hydrostatic testing) approved by the regulatory agency. All the speakers recommended the use of strong penalties for violations of "One-Call Systems," including against the entities responsible for accurately flagging utility locations for excavators. The speakers noted that old pipelines are not necessarily the biggest problem, and that the site a pipeline traverses or the product it carries can greatly influence its condition.

There was agreement that the data available to conduct thorough risk assessments is generally lacking, but that companies usually have better data than the federal OPS. In response to a question about local capacity to meet their needs for dealing with hazardous materials, the speakers said companies should be required to support and assist local first responders and should be required to meet with these agencies annually.

The entire Team expressed its appreciation to the speakers for their helpful presentations.

The group discussed the need for intensive efforts during October if a report is to be prepared in early November for public review; three subcommittees will do this work. The Prevention and Siting, Preparedness and Response, and Funding committees – met during the afternoon to establish organizational ground rules and schedule future meetings. They then reported back to the full Team:

Prevention and Siting, Mayor Mark Asmundson, Chair:


This group plans meetings on September 28 and October 6, 13 and 20, between approximately 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. They prefer to hold their meetings at the World Trade Center Offices at SeaTac Airport if that facility is available. [NOTE: it has since been determined that this facility is not available.] They will allow any interested party to participate in their discussions, and have deferred a decision on how they will arrive at conclusions.

Their first meeting will focus on one-call systems, the second on internal pipeline inspections, preemption and franchise authority, the third on siting, and the fourth on reaching conclusions.

Prepardeness and Response, Joe Stohr, Department of Ecology, Chair:

This group will hold its first meeting September 30 or October 1 via a conference call. Any party wishing to participate should contact Joe (at 360-407-7450) for information on how to get access to the conference call. This discussion will focus on identifying an issues list and giving assignments to members to develop recommendations on specific issues. The committee will meet during the week of October 11 in Bellevue and the week of October 25 (specific dates have not yet been set) to finalize and prioritize its recommendations. They will allow any interested party to participate.

Funding, Bill Hinkle, Chair and Rick Mattoon, Co-Chair:

This committee will meet on September 30, and October 7, 14, 21, and 28 from approximately 8 to 10:30 a.m. Its first meeting will be held at the Utilities and Transportation Commission, 1300 S. Evergreen Park Drive, SW, Olympia. Subsequent meetings will be held in Room 440 of the Insurance Building on the Capitol Campus (14th and Water Streets). The group will allow participation by any interested party, but Team members and alternates will make consensus decisions. If those parties cannot reach consensus, the committee will provide the Team majority and minority reports.

The committee’s first meeting will focus on payments currently made by oil and gas companies to state and local governments. It will include presentations by pipeline operators and the Department of Revenue. The group will also hear data gathered by the National Association of Utility Regulators about other states’ programs for funding pipeline safety (if it is available).

At subsequent meetings, the group will consider funding options, including changes to the current barrel tax on imported oil, operator fees, local franchise agreements, changes to funding one-call systems, and penalty levels.

All committees were asked to ensure that minutes are taken of each session. These are to be submitted to Carol Jolly, who will ensure they are posted on the FAPRT web site and made available to the public.

Flamable Public Meeting Summaries

September 8, 1999
Bellevue, WA

Fortyone people spoke during the 3-hour meeting; each speaker was limited to 4 minutes.

Three key themes emerged from multiple speakers:

Two people generously offered assistance to share information or experiences:

Other comments offered by speakers (not in any particular order):

September 16, 1999
Moses Lake, WA

Nine people spoke during the meeting, with each speaker having an open-ended opportunity to present his or her views. The predominant topic for the session was the One-Call Notification system, and there was an extended discussion among audience members and the Team about the pros and cons of having a single One-Call Number for the state of WA.

Several speakers contended that it would be inappropriate to alter the current "Call before You Dig" program, which relies on 6 centers across the state. They asserted that there is no data showing that any benefits would be gained by a change and that the current system is working effectively for contractors and utilities. These speakers agreed that the biggest problems related to third-party damages arise from parties failing to call in at all or failing to wait the required 48 hours to have underground facility locations identified by the responsible operator.

There was related discussion of the statute dealing with excavation damage prevention (RCW 19.122) and the absence of meaningful enforcement or penalties for violation of that law. The statute is unclear about the regulatory agency responsible for its implementation.

Speakers emphasized the need for clearly visible markers displaying pipeline locations (in both urban and rural settings), the need for markers to state clearly that a pipeline [rather than "underground cable" is present, and the advantages of having markers show a One-Call number.

Other comments included:

September 22, 1999
Vancouver, WA

Twenty-two people spoke during the 95-minute meeting. Each speaker was limited to five minutes to ensure that everyone who wished to do so was given an opportunity to speak.

Multiple speakers expressed three major themes:

Additional comments offered included:

FlamableSubcommittees Summaries


Prevention and Siting
September 28, 1999

Present were: Tony Perez, Jerry Smedes, Linda Dennis, Don Evans, Katy Boylin, Chuck Boykin, Ken Meyer, Mike Gardner, Frank Planton, Duane Henderson, Chuck Blemenfeld, Dennis Lloyd, Zella West, Mary Rowe, Susan Harper, Barbara Greene, Steve Rieger, William Mulkey, Tracy Cereghino, Mark Asmundson.

The first part of the meeting focused on looking at the existing one call system in Washington. Among the findings:

Potential Recommendations: A consensus emerged that the current one call system works reasonably well. It was recommended that a team be formed to work between legislative sessions and bring forward any proposed legislation for improving the system.
The next discussion focused on Data Systems. Among the findings:

The question was raised as to whether problems had arisen from lack of signage in cities; How to map lines that carry more than one type of product.

Potential Recommendations:

Disclose pipeline locations to property owners within a specified distance.

Annual Reporting:

Prevention and Siting
October 6, 1999

Present at the meeting were: Steve Reiger, Brian Wired, Pat Dolan, Tony Perez, Nora Johnson, Richard Kuprewicz, Will Odell, Duane Henderson, Grant A. Jensen, Christopher A. Bias, J. Sean Black, Traci Grundon, Deanne Kopkas, Stuart Jon Ell, Linda Dennis, Wayne A.Wienholz, Kevin Cowan, Dan L. Choate, Karen McCaffey, Ken Meyer, Tray Careghino, Joe Stohr, Kent Craford, Shari Jensen, Mary Rowe, Dennis E. Lloyd, Allen Fiksdal, Deb Ross, Tristan Wise, Susan Harper, Marc Asmundson.

Federal Preemption: The team summarized the preemption issue stating that currently only OPS can enact regulations regarding safety and operational guidelines. This preemption does not prohibit states from imposing environmental safeguards, provided that they do not directly impact pipeline operations.

Several question were posed to the team:

Should Washington ask the Federal Government to change the law to allow states to implement regulations dealing with safety and operations of pipelines?


What objections would the industry have to more restrictive State safety standards assuming they were consistent with Federal regulations?


Who approves technical designs of pipelines?

It was noted that States generally have more stringent conditions for safety, i.e. leak detection standards.

It was also noted that interstate liquid pipelines are exempt from a federal law requiring operators to submit to a technical review when new components, other than replacements in kind, are added to their system. So, no one reviews new designs of liquid pipelines when new components are added.

Some members believe that there is a role for a State and federal partnership to review pipeline designs.



Generally it was believed that valves are an important safety device but it’s important to do careful study to determine the optimal location for valve placement.

Leak detection:

Operator Training; Among the issues raised:

Franchising Issues; We wanted to learn what local government could do with their franchising authority. Local governments can:

A representative from EFSEC suggested that local governments pass ordinances stipulating terms and conditions under which an operator can use Right of way and City property.

Potential Recommendation: Although the team has agreed that the core subcommittee members will most likely develop final recommendations, the following were offered as possible areas where recommendations may be made:

Preparedness and Response
September 30, 1999

Present were:Joe Stohr, Ecology, Dave Hanson, Whatcom County Fire District, Lt. Steve Kalmbach, WSP, Glen Woodbury, Emergency Management Div., David Williams, WA Fire Commissioners, Bill Mulkey, Olympic Pipeline Co., Dave Wakefield, E. Pierce Fire & Rescue, Ed Reed, Pierce County DEM, Neil Clement, Whatcom County, Sam Lorenz, Grant County DEM, Steve Lamerall, WSP, Sgt. Roy Glass, WSP.

Introductions: Most individuals who signed up to participate were a part of the phone conference. Joe will make available these notes to all potential participants.

Administrative details: The group discussed the scope of the subcommittee. Efforts will be made to draft recommendations focused on preparedness and response but there will probably be overlap with the work of the other two subcommittees.


Subcommittee members suggested that the Coast Guard and EPA be invited to participate, especially in discussions related to their respective jurisdictions. Joe will contact them.


Draft recommendation building: The subcommittee reviewed an initial list of recommendations gathered from public comment, agency staff and documents presented to the Task Force. Suggestions for further analysis were made and assigned to subcommittee members. Some modification of draft language took place and several additional recommendations were brought forth. Joe will compile all amended and new recommendations and send to members asap. Joe encouraged members to forward analysis, new recommendations, etc. so they can be added to the draft list.

"To Do" List: The following assignments were made:

Next Meeting: The next subcommittee meeting will be Oct. 14, in Ecology's Northwest Regional Office, Room 2A, 3190 160th Ave. S.E., Bellevue, WA. (425) 649-7000. The meeting will run from 10am to 2 pm. The subcommittee will try to complete our draft list of recommendations and prioritize/organize them.

October 13, 1999

Opening remarks and introductions: Present at the meeting were: Tony Perez, Deb Ross, Allen Fiksall, Tristan Wise, Susan Harper, Don Evans, Joe Jainga, Dennis E. Lloyd, Kenneth W. Meyer, Wyne A. Wienholz, Karen McGaffey, Chuck Blumenfeld, Steve Hunter, Duane Henderson, Richard Kuprewicz, Grant Jensen, Lori Komayar, Carol Jolly, Chuck Mosher, Julie Rodwell.


The authorizing Statute, which was passed 30 years ago, was distributed to the members for their information. EFSEC originated as a one-stop forum for discussion of issues relative to the siting of large power plants. Among the roles EFSEC currently plays are coordinating with other state agencies, monitoring, regulating, and permitting. In some cases it can override local jurisdiction. EFSEC coordinates the work of various state agencies involved in the review of siting. Its review process encompasses several components:


EFSEC reviews voluminous amounts of information in making their determinations. They believe that they have sufficient facts with which to make their decisions. EFSEC can deny a siting application on the basis of design and construction. Generally, if EFSEC determines that a siting application is inconsistent with local zoning and Land Use ordinances it terminates the process. The applicant’s only recourse is to prove that zoning determinations were faulty; this would be very difficult for an applicant to prove.

It was suggested that perhaps EFSEC coordinate w/ OPS on pipeline safety issues much like it does with the NRC, in cases where contamination spreads beyond the grounds of a nuclear facility.


EFSEC gathers fees from applicants. Applicants pay for all reasonable costs for siting facilities, including the costs of consultants. A review of EFSEC recommended that it might be a good idea to get state funding.

Large projects challenge the ability of other State agencies to intervene in the review process. These projects place a financial strain on their budgets and their effectiveness in the process is compromised because the applicant pays nothing. Discussion ensued as to whether the processing costs incurred by State agencies can be passed onto the applicant. It was suggested that perhaps state agencies could participate at the front end of the process - the EIS - stage, changing their role from intervention to review. Another factor cited as a barrier to effective state agency participation is the ex-parte limitations.

Some additional comments regarding EFSEC

Chuck Mosher asked that members providethe committee, in writing, their thoughts and recommendations on how the EFSEC process can be improved.


Discussion ensued as to how to strengthen easements. Federal regulations on easements are vague; they don’t prevent structures from being built on easements.

Members provided some helpful comments:


It was recommended that local governments address pipeline siting through their Comprehensive Plan and development ordinances. They should specify the generic conditions governing where pipelines should go.

Locals should consider the types of facilities that would warrant setbacks. (By federal law, natural gas companies upgrade their facilities when schools, critical facilities or population encroaches on the pipeline.

Eminent Domain

The team had a short discussion on the issue of eminent domain. The issue was raised as to whether pipeline companies, who enjoy eminent domain powers, should exercise that right and obtain property outright as a way to reduce third party damage to their pipelines. After some discussion it was agreed that eminent domain was a lower priority and not a high payoff option.

Independent Office of Pipeline Safety

Discussion ensued about the where a state office of pipeline safety should reside (i.e., UTC, Fire Marshall, EFSEC) and a definition of what this office would do. It was agreed that these different agencies would have an opportunity to validate their positions at the next meeting or submit a position paper to the committee.

It was suggested that the 1991 Office of Marine Safety is a good model for a state office of pipeline safety. It had outside experts, was independent and had a citizen’s advisory board.

Among the scope of activities for the state Office of Pipeline Safety is:

September 30, 1999

The Subcommittee met at the offices of the Utilities and Transportation Commission, 1300 S Evergreen Park Drive, SW; Olympia, WA. A list of the attendees is attached.

Ray Philen of the Department of Revenue discussed pipeline companies’ obligations for Public Utility Taxes (PUT) and Business and Occupation Taxes and distributed a handout about 1998 revenues under these requirements. Because DOR legislation specifies that for any sector in which there are less than 3 payers, payment information is not discloseable, the hand-out provided information on Natural Gas Distribution Companies, but not on Natural Gas or Liquid Petroleum Transmission Companies. Ray agreed to report back to the subcommittee on the aggregate revenue from all pipeline companies, since this will meet the disclosure requirements.

The Public Utility Tax rate on product distribution is 3.85% of gross receipts. Business and Occupation taxes are due on other services a company might provide (e.g., maintenance or consulting) and the rate for this is 1.96%. Revenues from the PUT go to the State General Fund.

Ray explained that the state could collect no taxes if a pipeline transports product through the state but does not store or deliver any of it within state.

He further explained that gas distribution and liquid petroleum and gas transmission companies were assessed about $1.5 billion in property taxes in 1998. He agreed to report back to the subcommittee on the amount actually paid.

Bob Hansen of Avista described his company’s tax payments to the state as representative of other Local Distribution Companies. The biggest tax they pay is the PUT; they also pay real and personal property taxes to counties. In 1998, Avista had $84 million in assessed value and paid about $1.3 million in property taxes. The other large tax on Avista is city utility tax at 6% of gross receipts; in 1998, the company paid about $2.2 million in such taxes across Washington.

Of the states Avista serves, WA is the only one with a PUT; other states charge income taxes. The PUT is higher than the income taxes charged by these other states.

The company also pays fees to the Utilities and Transportation Commission for the latter’s regulatory program. In 1998 this amounted to about $145,000. Rick Mattoon noted that the agency’s total 1998 revenue for pipeline regulation was about $540,000 with just over half from operator fees and just under half from a U.S. Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) grant.

Rick reported on discussions he had with the head of the pipeline safety program within the Arizona Corporation commission who is currently president of the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives. Terry Fronterhouse pointed out that there is no standard level of funding for state programs and the OPS has ever developed a mechanism for setting such a standard.

October 14, 1999

The Subcommittee met in Room 440 of the Insurance Building in Olympia. A list of the attendees is attached.

Rick Mattoon began by following up on a commitment made by Ray Philen of the Department of Revenue at the Subcommittee’s September 30 meeting. Ray promised to provide information about Public Utility and B & O taxes paid by all pipeline operators and about their actual 1999 property tax payments. Rick handed out documents with this information (attached).

Rick then discussed trends in the Utilities and Transportation Commission’s (UTC’s) revenues and expenditures for pipeline safety over the past several years. He noted that the pipeline industry pays fees to cover the UTC’s costs for consumer protection, economic regulation and safety; the total of these fees is capped in statute. The safety program has been operating at a deficit since 1996 and the UTC has made up the shortfall by taking funds from the industry’s economic regulation payments.

Gerry O’Keefe and Janis Kingery of the Department of Ecology then gave a presentation on the barrel tax and its use by Ecology’s Spills Prevention, Preparedness and Response Program. This tax was instituted in 1991 as the state was reacting to the Exxon Valdez spill. Gerry provided several handouts (attached).

The state collects 5 cents per barrel on crude oil or petroleum products imported to Washington by vessel. Only the first possession is taxable; subsequent recipients of the same product are exempt from payment.

One cent goes to a Spill Response Account. This is available for immediate use in the event of a major spill; a major spill is defined as one where expenses exceed $50,000. It is capped at $10 million; when that level is reached, the state will stop collecting this penny until the fund diminishes to $9 million, when collection will begin again. This account is increasing by about $2 million per biennium and the $10 million level is expected to be reached in 2000.

Four cents goes to Ecology’s Spill Administration Account to cover the program’s operating costs. This account has taken in less money than needed 5 of the past 8 years. The shortfall expected for 1999 led the legislature to transfer $1 million from the Spill Response Account to the Administration Account; nevertheless, the department had to reduce its staff by over 2 full-time employees.

Under the law, the state must give a credit to the payer for oil or petroleum products exported from Washington. The net result is that of the total revenue collected, almost one-third is returned. The unpredictability of the timing and size of the refunds worsen the effects of this on the department's operations.

Because the volume of the crude oil entering the state is largely fixed by the capacity of the state’s refineries, the volume being taxed has remained relatively stable while the state’s needs to operate the program have continued to grow (because of inflation among other reasons).

The Subcommittee discussed some of the options that might be applied to fund a pipeline safety program:

Team members agreed to contact pipeline safety officials in other states to determine how their programs are funded. The states to be contacted are:

Arizona, California, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, and Rhode Island.

This information is to be brought to the Subcommittee’s next meeting, which is scheduled for October 28 at 8:00 a.m. in Room 440 of the Insurance Building. Carol Jolly agreed to contact the chairs of the other subcommittees to emphasize the necessity of their providing their recommendations to the Funding Subcommittee before the October 28 meeting.

For information on any of the meetings, please contact Carol Jolly at (360) 902-0639 or carol.jolly@ofm.wa.gov