Legislative Bulletin January 29, 2023 – Action AlertSunday, January 29, 2023 - 12:05pm
Natural Gas Utility Local Authority Preemption bill will be heard Monday, Jan. 30 in Senate Commerce and Labor 15 minutes after the Senate adjourns
Contact the members of Senate Commerce and Labor Committee to oppose SB1496
SB1496 (Peterson); Natural gas utility facility replacement projects; exemption from planning, subdivision of land, and zoning provisions.
This legislation exempts natural gas utility facility replacement projects undertaken as part of the SAVE Program from local land use, zoning, and planning ordinances.
Important to note:
- S1496 exempts certain natural gas line replacement from local health and safety regulation when performed under the SAVE program
- SB1496 redefines a “Natural gas utility facilities replacement project as being exempt from “the provisions of Chapter 22 (§15.2-2200 et seq.) of Title 15.2”
- This legislation prevents a locality from requiring a review under 15.2-2200 et. seq., so long as the replacement is not serving new customers irrespective of whether replacement lines are located in a new right of way.
- This legislation is aimed at ONE locality served by Virginia Natural Gas.
- This is a broad pre-emption and applies to all localities statewide, local safety regulations exist to ensure public safety and exempting natural gas replacement activities from local ordinances does nothing to protect public safety.
Key talking points:
- Requiring natural gas utilities to meet local safety standards is reasonable and protects communities to ensure new gas lines are not in conflict with other utilities or underground services.
- All localities should not be punished for an issue in one
- Local review is necessary to ensure other service lines are not impacted when replacement lines are moved to new right of ways or easements relative to existing service lines
- Natural Gas utilities define any activity under the SAVES program as a “replacement” loosely to mean a line is not serving new customers, this does not mean a replacement line is in the same or relatively similar location as an existing line or even in the same trench as existing lines.
Please contact your legislators and members of the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee to voice your concerns and oppose SB1496!
Senate Commerce and Labor Committee members:
|Saslaw (Chair)||firstname.lastname@example.org||(804) 698-7535|
Full list of Senators with contact information available here >.
VML Contact: Michelle Gowdy, email@example.com