|BILL AS PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE||2007-2008|
AN ACT RELATING TO THE VERMONT DIG SAFE PROGRAM AND THE FEDERAL GAS PIPELINE SAFETY PROGRAM
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 30 V.S.A. § 7001(4) is amended and (11), (12), (13), and (14) are added to read:
(4) “Excavation activities” means activities involving the removal of earth, rock or other materials in the ground, disturbing the subsurface of the earth, or the demolition of any structure, by the discharge of explosives or the use of powered or mechanized equipment, including but not limited to digging, trenching, blasting, boring, drilling, hammering, post driving, wrecking, razing, or tunneling, within 100 feet of an underground utility facility. Excavation activities shall not include the tilling of the soil for agricultural purposes, routine home gardening with hand tools outside easement areas and public rights-of-way, activities relating to routine public highway maintenance, or the use of hand tools by a company, or the company’s agent or a contractor working under the agent’s direction, to locate or service the company’s facilities, provided the company has a written damage prevention program.
(11) “Powered or mechanized equipment” means equipment that is powered or energized by any motor, engine, or hydraulic or pneumatic device and that is used for excavation or demolition work.
(12) “Hand tools” means tools powered solely by human energy.
(13) “Verified” means the location and depth have seen physically determined by hand digging.
(14) “Damage prevention program” means a program established to ensure employees involved in excavation activities are aware of and utilize appropriate and safe excavating practices.
Sec. 2. 30 V.S.A. § 7004(e) is added to read:
(e) Notice of excavation activities shall be valid for an excavation site until one of the following occurs:
(1) The excavation is not completed within 30 days of the notification;
(2) The markings become faded, illegible, or destroyed; or
(3) The company installs new underground facilities in a marked area still under excavation.
Sec. 3. 30 V.S.A. § 7006b is amended to read:
§ 7006b. EXCAVATION AREA PRECAUTIONS
Any person engaged in excavating
activities in the approximate location of underground utility facilities marked
pursuant to section 7006 of this title shall take reasonable precautions to
avoid damage to underground utility facilities, including but not limited to
any substantial weakening of the structural or lateral support of such
facilities or penetration, severance or destruction of such facilities. When
excavation activities involve horizontal or directional boring, the person
engaged in excavation activities shall expose underground facilities to verify
their location and depth, in a safe manner, at each location where the work
will cross a facility and at reasonable intervals when paralleling an
underground facility. Powered or mechanized equipment may only be used
within the approximate location where the facilities have been verified.
Sec. 4. 30 V.S.A. § 7008 is amended to read:
§ 7008. PENALTIES
Digsafe Program. Any person or company who violates any provisions of
sections 7004, 7006, 7006a, 7006b, or 7007 of this title shall be
subject to a civil penalty of
up to $1,000.00 not
more than $500.00 for the first offense, not more than $1,000.00 for the second
offense within one year of the date of the first offense, not more than
$1,500.00 for the third offense within one year of the first offense, and not
more than $5,000.00 for the fourth or subsequent offense within one year of the
date of a previous offense, in addition to any other
remedies or penalties provided by law or any liability for actual damages. For
the purposes of this subsection, “the date of the first offense” means the date
on which the violation occurred, not the date on which the adjudication of the
company which does not mark the location of its underground facilities as
required by section 7006 or 7006a of this title shall be subject to a civil penalty
of up to $1,000.00.
* * *
(e) Any person who violates any provisions of sections 7004 through 7007 of this title as to an underground gas distribution or transmission facility shall also be subject to the civil penalties described in section 2816 of this title. However, a person who has been assessed a civil penalty pursuant to section 2816 of this title shall not be subject to the payment of an assessed penalty under the provisions of this section for the same violation.
Sec. 5. APPEAL PROCESS FOR PENALTIES FOR UNDERGROUND
UTILITY DAMAGE PREVENTION SYSTEM VIOLATIONS
The department of public service, in collaboration with the public service board and companies and contractors using the underground utility damage prevention system, shall develop a streamlined appeal process before an independent adjudicator for the purpose of appealing fines assessed pursuant to 30 V.S.A. § 7008(a).
Sec. 6. 30 V.S.A. § 2816(a) is amended to read:
Pipeline Safety Program. Any person who violates any statute, rule,
regulation, or order of the public service board relating to safety
standards or safety practices applicable to transportation of gas
through gas pipeline facilities subject to the jurisdiction of the public
service board is subject to a civil penalty of not more than
for each violation for each day that the violation persists. However, the
maximum civil penalty shall not exceed $500,000.00 $1,000,000.00
for any related series of violations. The penalty may be imposed by the board
after notice to the offending person of the alleged violations and opportunity
Sec. 7. REPEAL
30 V.S.A. § 7004(d)(2) is repealed January 1, 2010.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street