Damage prevention stakeholders request legislative enforcement study - recommendations

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Sunshine 811 and industry stakeholders including the Florida Natural Gas Association, TECO Peoples Gas, AT&T, Florida Internet and Television, the National Utility Contractors Association of Florida, and the Florida Energy Pipeline Association, have asked the Legislature to conduct a study of Florida’s damage prevention law enforcement program with recommendations for future legislation as appropriate.

This request follows annual determinations made by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), U.S. Department of Transportation, that the State of Florida's enforcement of its excavation damage prevention law is INADEQUATE.

PHMSA’s determinations, made initially for 2016 and again for 2017, have opened the door for federal enforcement action to be taken against excavators that violate federal one-call law and damage PHMSA-regulated pipelines with fines of up to $205,648 per violation per day with a maximum civil penalty of $2,056,380 for a related series of violations.

Purpose of Legislature Study

  • Identify options and future legislation needed to bring the State of Florida in line with federal enforcement standards;
  • Increase compliance with Florida’s one-call law; and
  • Reduce excavation damages to underground facilities through more effective enforcement of Chapter 556, the Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act, Florida Statutes.

A copy of the May 11, 2018 letter to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House is provided below.