Speaking to reporters at a technical forum on next-generation blowout preventers (BOP) Tuesday, Interior Department officials said they expected to issue by September a proposal on enhanced standards for BOPs, a device that is believed to have malfunctioned in April 2010 and lead to the blowout of the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico (see Daily GPI, April 22, 2010). “This is a rule that I believe is much needed, and we will work deliberately toward getting a draft rule published,” said James Watson, director of Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, earlier this month.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is in the midst of a 20-day comment period on a tentative order that begins implementation of Act 11 of 2012, which among other things provides for a distribution system improvement charge (DSIC) for natural gas, electric, water and wastewater utilities. Under the law, the DSIC must be designed to provide for “the timely recovery of the reasonable and prudent costs incurred to repair, improve or replace eligible property in order to ensure and maintain adequate, efficient, safe, reliable and reasonable services.” Signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett in February, Act 11 would also increase civil penalties for gas pipeline violations to be consistent with Federal pipeline safety laws. Comments should be submitted by May 31 to the Commission’s Act 11 Resource Account at ra-act11@pa.gov and provided electronically in Word-compatible format to David Screven, dscreven@pa.gov, and Louise Fink Smith, finksmith@pa.gov, in the PUC’s Law Bureau, and to Erin Laudenslager, elaudensla@pa.gov, in the PUC’s Bureau of Technical Services.

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