Inspections of the infrastructure for retail compressed natural gas pumps would be the responsibility of the Oklahoma Labor Department under a bill passed this week by the House of Representatives.
House Bill 3297, authored by Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang, passed by a vote of 86-2 Tuesday and now goes to the Senate for consideration. Sen. Ron Justice, R-Chickasha, is the bill’s sponsor in the Senate.
The bill creates a “one-stop shop” for retail pump CNG inspections at the Labor Department, Osborn said. It corrects a law passed last year that gave the authority to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to inspect CNG dispensers, compression equipment and storage vessels.
When the Corporation Commission began drafting rules late last year to implement the law, it was discovered that some of the CNG responsibilities already were being handled by the Labor Department. Meanwhile, the state’s Office of Management and Enterprise Services sets training and certification standards for technicians servicing CNG pumps and vehicles.
Liz McNeill, spokeswoman for the Labor Department, said the agencies have overlapping responsibilities under the law. She said the Labor Department already has the inspectors and licensing infrastructure to handle inspections of pressure vessels.
“We’re not pushing for it, but we’re more than happy to accept it,” McNeill said Friday.
John Estus, spokesman for the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, said the agency is supportive of the bill. Officials from the three agencies worked together to find the best solution, he said.
HB 3297 also drops the rate of a tax credit for the purchase of clean fuel vehicles to 45 percent from 50 percent. The difference would be collected by the Oklahoma Tax Commission to create the Compressed Natural Gas Conversion Safety and Regulation Fund, which would help pay for the inspections. An estimate prepared by House fiscal staff said the fund is expected to collect about $88,000 per year.