Government Relations Committee

Charge: Target specific regulatory and legislative items and report their findings through the "Legislative Watch" section of the DCA News and DCA Web page.

Composition: The Chairs of each committee are appointed by the President at the Mid Year Meeting. The Vice Chairs are appointed by the Chair at the Mid Year Meeting. The position of chair and vice chair alternate every two years between regular members and associate members. Members of the committee are self selecting, though the President can appoint members to the committee

Mission Statement
Target specific regulatory and legislative items and report their findings through the Legislative watch section of the DCA News and DCA Web page. Present to the board those issues we believe our members would benefit by advocating for or against.

2016 Achievements:

Provided a panel presentation at the Winter Meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) to educate state utility commissioners about the key role played by contractors in pipeline construction as well as the importance of full participation in the one-call process by municipal governments.

Advanced DCA’s Cross Bore Initiative to raise awareness about the enduring problem of cross bores by implementing a multi-tiered ground game to reduce the likelihood and often disastrous consequences. Consisted of industry education and advocacy at the federal and state level.

Secured language in final pipeline safety legislation that mandated the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to conduct a study of damage prevention technologies and practices. The final bill passed in June of 2016.

Presented a package of materials regarding DCA’s Cross Bore Initiative for PHMSA consideration as part of their mandated study on damage prevention.

Coordinated a multi-industry response to the “Gold Shovel Standard” (GSS), a new punitive industry program that presents unnecessary training, testing and reporting requirements on a range of construction contractors across several utility markets.

Convinced GSS leaders to allow for temporary “opt out” of GSS reporting requirements subject to contractors who have been forced to enroll in the GSS program.

Increased DCA participation on several committee of the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), including the Stakeholder Advocacy Committee, Best Practices Committee, and task team on GSS program.

Co-chaired a task team of CGA’s Technology Committee that developed CGA’s contribution to PHMSA’s Damage prevention technology study. Several DCA members provided feedback during development of CGA’s contribution.

Participated in semi-annual meetings of PHMSA Pipeline Advisory Committee meetings and provided comment on PHMSA regulatory initiatives that impact the gas distribution construction industry.

Advanced DCA Cross Bore Initiative which calls for requirement municipal membership to state one-call programs and adjustment of state laws to address unmarked service laterals.

Co-hosted third annual Utility Contractor Workshop with the American Gas Association (AGA). Workshop included panel discussions on construction workforce development, portability of operator qualification (OQ) programs, the latest in construction technology and other items.

Participated in ongoing activities of the Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance’s (EEIA) by helping establish rebuttals to pipeline protesters in local town halls, hearings, or meetings of local zoning officials.

Encouraged PHMSA to rethink its post-construction inspection requirements, which were indefinitely suspended by the agency.

Participated in legal challenge of OSHA’s proposed regulation on crystalline silica as a member of the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC).

Continued to participate in PHMSA’s Damage Prevention Working Group.

Reviewed applications submitted by some 40 states for grant assistance as part of PHMSA’s Damage Prevention Grant Review Team.

2017 Goals:

Foster effective relationships with new staff on House and Senate committees of interest in the 115th Congress and within agencies of the incoming Trump Administration.

Hold successful Washington fly-in to educate new staff on issues of importance of the gas distribution construction industry.

Continue to gain momentum in efforts to limit the scope of the GSS program, improve the program to the extent possible and/or mitigate the negative impacts of GSS on the DCA membership.

Develop agenda and program at 2017 GSS Participants Conference and encourage as many contractors from multiple utility markets as possible to attend the event and push for improvements to or suspension of the GSS program.

Conduct another well-attended and successful DCA and AGA workshop with increased participation by gas utilities.

Expand awareness of DCA cross bore initiative at 2017 industry events such as the CGA EXPO and other industry venues.

Assist OQ Portability Task Force in meeting initial goals and helping define next steps if deemed necessary.

Persuade NARUC to adopt DCA’s proposed resolution regarding cross bore mitigation.

Persuade PHMSA to issue advisory bulletin on cross bore safety and need for municipal membership to state one-call programs.

Enhance DCA’s relationship with NARUC and continue to educate state pipeline inspectors about the critical role served by contractors in the natural gas pipeline industry and need for municipal membership to state one-call programs.

Encourage passage of comprehensive energy package pending in 115th Congress that include provisions that provide for robust energy development and transportation as well as significant reform to the pipeline permitting process.

Support the “REINS” Act and other legislation that would require Congressional approval of significant federal rulemaking.

Block any legislative or regulatory attempts to obstruct or impede horizontal directional drilling practices used in utility construction.

Continue to support litigation to prevent OSHA from implementing its crystalline silica rule as currently written.

Continue to strengthen DCA’s relationships with government and industry organizations of interest to the association’s legislative and regulatory agenda.

Assist ongoing EEIA efforts to rebut shortsighted opposition to gas pipeline projects.

Members can view meeting minutes in the Members Only section of the web site.

The Government Relations Resource Library is located in the Members Only section of the web site.

Government Relations Committee Charter