The Interagency Task Force on Natural Gas Storage Safety report on reducing the risk of natural gas leaks details lessons learned from the Aliso Canyon leak and analyzes the nation’s more than 400 underground natural gas storage wells. It provides 44 recommendations to industry, federal, state, and local regulators to reduce the likelihood of future leaks and minimize the impacts of any that occur.

The report recommends facility operators:

  • Phase out single-point-of-failure designs that contributed to the inability to repair the Aliso Canyon leak
  • Conduct risk assessments
  • Develop and implement transition plans to address high-risk infrastructure
  • Apply procedures to maintain safety and reliability while transitioning to modern well design standards

The task force focused on integrity of wells at natural gas storage facilities, public health, and environmental effects from natural gas storage leaks, and energy reliability concerns in the case of future leaks. Public workshops were held throughout the summer with local and state level stakeholders, including gas storage operators and state regulators.

The Task Force was co-chaired by Franklin Orr, under secretary for Science and Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); and Marie Therese Dominguez, administrator of the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). www.energy.gov

US EPA funds green business in California

To help small and medium-size businesses across the state reduce their environmental impacts, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded $173,479 to the California Air Resources Board (CARB). CARB will use the funds for technical assistance and training efforts of the California Green Business Network, a non-profit organization that helps businesses adopt green practices. The program has expanded to support sustainable businesses in economically-disadvantaged communities. To receive green business certification, companies must demonstrate how they conserve resources and prevent pollution.

The California Green Business Network oversees 25 green business programs operated by chambers of commerce, cities, and counties throughout California. To date, 3,396 California Green Business participants have saved more than $41 million through green practices and prevented emissions of more than 1 million tons of greenhouse gases. www.epa.gov

FERC seeks comment on pipeline index rate changes

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is seeking comments on potential modifications to its policies evaluating pipeline index rate changes and data reporting requirements. Through these modifications, FERC seeks to ensure that oil pipeline rates are just and reasonable.

FERC’s indexing methodology allows oil pipelines to change rates subject to certain ceiling levels rather than make cost-of-service filings.

Advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANOPR) considers whether the commission should:

  • Deny increases for pipelines with revenues exceeding costs by 15% (prior two years)
  • Deny increases exceeding cost changes by 5%
  • Apply new criteria to costs closely associated with the pipeline’s proposed rates than with total company-wide costs and revenues
  • Initial comments on the ANOPR are due 45 days after publication in the Federal Register www.ferc.gov