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On Monday, October 19, APGA’s 2020 Operations Conference began with opening remarks from APGA Operations & Safety Committee Chairman Carl Smith from Greenville Utilities Commission, and APGA President & CEO Dave Schryver. Carl’s remarks set the tone for the three-week virtual conference reminding APGA members that, “I am proud to be part of an industry that comes together when the need is there and I am thankful to have associations like APGA to help provide guidance. Operators have remained focused on keeping safety a top priority for their employees, communities and infrastructure while providing reliable, and cost-effective natural gas to customers ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, October 22, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, October 16. A 49 Bcf increase has been reported. Working gas in storage was 3,926 Bcf as of Friday, October 16, 2020, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 49 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 345 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 327 Bcf above the five-year average of 3,599 Bcf. At 3,926 Bcf, total working gas is above the five-year historical range.
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On October 20, APGA staff participated with other pipeline stakeholders in a conference call hosted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). This regularly occurring event allows all pertinent partners to gather and hear the latest from the TSA Surface Operations Division leadership, as well as get an update on any pipeline threats. On this particular call, attendees were fortunate to hear from a natural gas transmission pipeline operator, who found a suspicious object on their right-of-way while there was ongoing construction. Fortunately, there were no injuries, and the device was harmless. However, that operator was reminded to remain vigilant ...
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On October 13, APGA submitted joint comments with Spire, Inc., the American Gas Association (AGA), and the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) in response to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) concerning energy conservation standards (ECS) for clothes washers and dryers. Through the comments, APGA addressed its concerns with DOE’s rationale for establishing separate product classes for the appliances at question. In the NOPR, DOE provided its rationale for why clothes washers and dryers required separate product classes; however, that rationale is contrary to previous agency explanations, including those used to support ...
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On October 14, APGA staff participated in a webinar hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The focus of this event was to detail a new commitment option being developed for voluntarily reporting on supply of renewable natural gas (RNG) through natural gas transmission and distribution systems. Through the Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program, EPA encourages partners, which includes natural gas distribution companies, to make ambitious commitments to reduce methane emissions through implementation of cost-effective technologies and practices. EPA recognizes ongoing advances in approaches for identifying, measuring, and mitigating methane emissions ...
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Legislative Update

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Things have been quiet on the Hill for the last few weeks, save for the Senate Judiciary Committee holding confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The hearings were relatively routine and, while Judge Barrett did answer a couple of energy and environment related questions, nothing particularly groundbreaking or surprising occurred. Expect Judge Barrett's nomination to be reported favorably out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a final floor vote next week. Outside of the confirmation hearings, the rest of the Senate has been recessed with no committee hearings or other floor votes taking place of significance to APGA members. ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, October 15, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, October 9. A 46 Bcf increase has been reported. Working gas in storage was 3,877 Bcf as of Friday, October 9, 2020, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 46 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 388 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 353 Bcf above the five-year average of 3,524 Bcf. At 3,877 Bcf, total working gas is above the five-year historical range.
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APGA expresses its appreciation and support for the International Code Council (ICC) Board’s recent decisions on its joint appeals with the American Gas Association (AGA). With today’s announcement, the 2021 International Codes will not contain any of the provisions contested by APGA and AGA. The ICC appeals process, which allows all stakeholders to voice their opinion in an open forum, is an excellent example of the effectiveness of current code development practices. ICC identifies itself as “the leading global source of model codes and standards and building safety solutions [which] are used to ensure safe, affordable, and sustainable communities and buildings ...
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The Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC) for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) met on October 7 to discuss PHMSA’s Gas Regulatory Reform Rule. The GPAC is a multi-stakeholder group comprised of individuals representing the industry, the public, and regulators. The GPAC is responsible for reviewing proposed regulatory changes for their cost-effectiveness, technical feasibility, and practicality. APGA members are represented on that group by Rich Worsinger from Wilson Energy in Wilson, N.C. The proposed rule, published on June 9 included 10 proposed changes to gas regulatory requirements. Those proposed changes were: 1. Flexibility ...
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This week, Congressman Roger Williams (R-Texas) introduced the Incentivize Energy-Saving Improvements Act (H.R. 8547 ) to make permanent 179D of the tax code that offsets the high costs of energy efficient components and systems for certain types of buildings. The temporary nature of the 179D provision deters investment in energy-efficient systems and is set to expire on December 31, 2020. Recognizing that, in some cases, natural gas equipment is eligible for this deduction, APGA worked with the Congressman on the legislation and issued a statement of support. Legislation, like this from Congressman Williams, ensures safe, affordable, reliable, and clean natural ...
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On October 1, the Subcommittee on Energy of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (E&C) held a congressional hearing titled, “Generating Equity: Improving Clean Energy Access and Affordability.” APGA appreciated the committee taking the time to discuss the issues surrounding and opportunities to improve access to equitable and low-carbon energy, especially as they consider comprehensive legislation. In response to this event, on October 7, APGA offered input about how equitable energy policy can be achieved with a balanced solution, benefitting both the environment and consumers, especially those facing increasing energy burdens. The letter submitted ...
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On October 6, APGA staff and several members of the Security Task Group participated in a threat briefing. This event was organized by the American Gas Association (AGA), who were gracious in extending the invitation to their public natural gas utility colleagues. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Downstream Natural Gas Information Sharing and Analysis Center (DNG-ISAC), and the Department of Energy (DOE) provided unclassified information based on analyst reports from Region VIII, which includes Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Utah. While the details did come from ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, October 8, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, October 2. A 75 Bcf increase has been reported. Working gas in storage was 3,831 Bcf as of Friday, October 2, 2020, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 75 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 444 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 394 Bcf above the five-year average of 3,437 Bcf. At 3,831 Bcf, total working gas is above the five-year historical range.
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The APGA Research Foundation (RF) is sponsoring the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) Virtual Reality (VR) Training Benefits and Capabilities presentation during the APGA Operations Conference on October 23 at 1:00pm ET. GTI’s Ray Deatherage will talk about VR technology and how it can impact systems’ employee training and education program. This session will provide an overview of the benefits and capabilities of VR for the industry. In addition, a review of current and future VR training library content will be performed. Lastly, the new VR platform features in development will be shared. This includes the Virtual Classroom, the OQ Evaluator, and content management ...
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On September 29, APGA joined a letter to the Department of Energy (DOE) with Spire, the American Gas Association, the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association, and the National Apartment Association, reiterating an earlier request for DOE to withdraw its proposed appliance efficiency rules for residential furnaces and commercial water heaters. APGA originally asked DOE to withdraw these proposed rules in a 2018 joint petition for rulemaking, which also requested that the agency issue an interpretive rule confirming that energy conservation standards effectively limiting the market for gas furnaces or water heaters to products using condensing combustion ...
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As October starts and we realize we have made it through another month having faced challenges from COVID-19, APGA staff would like to remind members of the resources available on our website. Please go to www.apga.org/covid to access these. While states are taking different approaches in the response, the resources available should still be applicable. As well, with our country progressing on developing treatment options and a vaccine, the website will be updated with relative information. One item to highlight is a new document being released by the National Academy of Sciences. It is related to prioritizing vaccination; and, critical infrastructure employees ...
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Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, October 1, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, September 25. A 76 Bcf increase has been reported. Working gas in storage was 3,756 Bcf as of Friday, September 25, 2020, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 76 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 471 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 405 Bcf above the five-year average of 3,351 Bcf. At 3,756 Bcf, total working gas is above the five-year historical range.
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Legislative Update

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Last week, the House passed its most comprehensive energy package in years. The Clean Energy and Jobs Innovation Act, which passed by a vote of 220-185, was compiled of numerous research and development, clean energy, cyber, grid, and other bills previously considered or introduced in various committees. Of note, the bill included the McKinley-Welch building codes language, which is the House companion to the Portman-Shaheen legislation. As a reminder, that language would unduly expand the Department of Energy's (DOE) role in the building code process. The Senate is primed to act on their own energy package, although exact timing remains unknown. While much ...
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On September 29, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued two Advisory Bulletins to distribution operators. One is on inside meters and regulators, and the other is on overpressure protection on low-pressure natural gas distribution systems. The inside meter and regulator Advisory Bulletin addresses two National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations to PHMSA that resulted from the 2016 Silver Spring, Md., incident: PHMSA to require that all new service regulators be installed outside occupied structures; and, PHMSA to require existing interior service regulators be relocated outside occupied structures whenever the ...
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During the week of September 14, the Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change held a congressional hearing titled, “Building a 100 Percent Clean Economy: Opportunities for an Equitable, Low-Carbon Recovery.” APGA appreciates the committee taking time to discuss opportunities for an equitable, low-carbon recovery, especially as they consider comprehensive legislation. In response to this event, on September 23, APGA offered input about public natural gas utilities, including their valuable employees and existing pipeline infrastructure, playing a role and continuing to play an integral part in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) ...
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