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Texas Challenges New Federal Underground Gas Storage Rules

Texas is taking on the federal government in a challenge of federal safety regulations on underground natural gas storage. Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a petition in the 5th U.S. Circuit court of Appeals contending the rules were adopted without adequate input and strip local governments of their authority.

The new rules were the result of a move by congress last year. It ordered the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to write the rules following the 2016 gas leak at Pacific Gas and electric’s Aliso Canyon storage field near Los Angeles. They apply to nearly 400 gas storage facilities across the country and took effect in January.

PHMSA used a fast-track process to impose the interim rules and had scheduled comments in order to revise them before finalizing them later this year.

Texas has overseen safety at its gas storage sites while there have been no federal regulations for nearly 200 facilities that are part of interstate pipeline systems. The new regulations would not override any state regulations but would become minimum standards for the states to follow.