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News Release
Pipeline Safety Program Receives Perfect Score for Second Consecutive Year
January 12, 2001 (2001-002)
Contacts: Ron Eachus, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Roger Hamilton, Commissioner, 503 378-
6611; Joan H. Smith, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Jerry Murray Utility Safety Program Manager 503-378-6626; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
Salem, OR - The Oregon Public Utility Commission’s Gas Pipeline
Safety Program has received its second consecutive 100 percent score in a recent evaluation by the U. S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).
Oregon is one of only nine states to receive the 100 percent rating, which covered the period from January 1, 1999, through December 31, 1999.
In the evaluation, USDOT stated: "Documented performance beyond the minimum requirements reflects the dedication of your staff to maintaining adequate pipeline safety oversight in your State." Federal officials noted that the cast-iron main replacement program in Oregon, which may be completed by the end of this year, as a major success for pipeline safety. In addition they praised PUC'S efforts in underground damage prevention, such as promoting and monitoring the "Call Before You Dig" program, which sets an example for other states.
"Pipeline safety is taken very seriously by the Commission," said Jerry Murray, Program Manager for Utility Safety and Reliability. Murray noted that USDOT has consistently rated the program at high levels for the past 15 years, but the pipeline safety program received perfect ratings of 100 percent for 1998 and 1999. The USDOT rating assures maximum federal grant funding for the natural gas pipeline safety program for 2001.
Jack P. Dent, Chief of Pipeline Safety, said that Oregon’s natural gas operators deserve much of the credit for diligently operating and maintaining their gas systems. The most notable proactive effort undertaken by a natural gas operator was a voluntary project to replace old cast-iron piping. The project has just been completed and required nearly 15 years to accomplish.
Enhanced programs for landslide identification, bare steel replacement, and comprehensive excavation damage prevention programs are in various stages of implementation. "These proactive and voluntary programs exceed the minimum pipeline safety regulations and are joint efforts between the Commission and the gas operators. The annual USDOT rating recognizes the importance of these enhanced programs and the extra effort required to put them in place," Dent said.
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