Washington Watch

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

With Congress almost certain to pass a bill revising or eliminating its longstanding ban on offshore oil and gas drilling, interstate natural gas pipelines are trying to insure that any bill does not include an amendment setting up a national commission which would examine the adequacy of current federal policies governing the siting of natural gas infrastructure.

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

While distribution companies and state regulators seem to be satisfied with the general outlines of the proposed distribution integrity management program (DIMP) announced on June 25 by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), a number of questions are being raised by both groups about some of the proposal's murky details.

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

Pushed by a decision by a federal appeals court, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) wants to make changes in its respirator and training standards which will allow it to assess a penalty on a company on a per employee violation basis. A decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in 2005 said OSHA went beyond the language of those two standards in fining a Houston construction company for 11 violations of the asbestos standard, based on the fact that the company did not provide 11 employees with respirators or training for removing asbestos.

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

Major gas producers lost their battle to stop construction of the 506 mile Midcontinent Express Pipeline (MEP) when FERC cleared the project in late July.

Stephen Barlas, Washington Editor

Local sewage infrastructure projects would get a boost from legislation a House committee approved on July 30.

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