Statewide standards for inspections of public compressed natural gas fueling pumps could be in place next year after the Oklahoma Corporation Commission voted Thursday to begin drafting rules for inspectors.
There are about 100 CNG stations across the state, but there are no statewide rules for inspecting their operations. Local fire departments or city code inspectors do some of the safety inspections. They aren't responsible for checking CNG pump pressure or fill rate.
Gov. Mary Fallin signed House Bill 1718 in April directing the Corporation Commission to inspect CNG pumps. The commission's petroleum storage tank division already inspects retail diesel, gasoline and ethanol pumps.
The Legislature didn't provide funding for the CNG inspection effort, a point noted by all three commissioners at Thursday's meeting.
Commissioner Dana Murphy said Rep. Leslie Osborn, the House author of HB 1718, told her the commission should keep track of its expenditures so Osborn could ask for funding in the next legislative session.
“We do need to make sure we keep a handle on the costs,” said Commission Chairman Patrice Douglas. “We've got to get these rules made, and we've got to make sure we include the folks that are going to be involved in this industry going forward.”
A fee charged to retailers may be included as part of the rule-making to cover some of the inspection costs. Estimates to start inspections range from $60,000 to more than $250,000, not including inspector salaries and administrative support.