New rules for compressed natural gas pump inspections were delayed Thursday by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission after two other state agencies expressed concern over jurisdiction and possible duplication.
The Oklahoma Labor Department and the Office of Management and Enterprise Services already oversee some areas that could overlap with the proposed CNG rules.
House Bill 1718 gave the Corporation Commission the authority to inspect retail CNG dispensers, compression equipment and storage vessels. The bill, signed by Gov. Mary Fallin in April, was thought to be a good fit for the commission since its petroleum storage tank division already inspects retail gasoline, ethanol and diesel pumps.
“I understand the Legislature had designated the Corporation Commission for certain responsibilities, but we find other agencies of state government also might have previously existing involvement,” Commissioner Bob Anthony said Thursday.
“The nature of regulation for CNG has some similarities to liquid fuel like gasoline stations, but on the other hand, there are tanks and cylinders that are under pressure, and if some other agency of state government is better able to handle that in the public interest, then so be it,” Anthony said.
Anthony and Commissioner Dana Murphy voted to continue the hearing on proposed CNG rules to 9:30 a.m. March 5. Commission Chairwoman Patrice Douglas was absent.
“I will be supportive of us not passing CNG rules if it turns out other agencies are appropriately taking care of the things, but it seems like that would involve a potential statutory change over what was done, so we’ll see what happens with that,” Murphy said.
John Estus, spokesman for the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, said the agency wanted to make sure any possible overlap of duties were addressed. A committee at the office sets training and certification standards for technicians servicing CNG vehicles and pumps. Training is offered by private companies or CareerTechs.
“The regulatory structure today is very much a patchwork one that needs to be updated to reflect the growing market demand for these pumps,” Estus said. “We all thought it makes the most sense to get the structure right before setting the rules.”
The Labor Department has its own inspectors and oversees the licensing of contractors certified to inspect pressure vessels. Jim Buck, safety standards and licensing director, said the department has been inspecting pressure vessels for CNG as it hears of new locations. Additional inspections would still be needed for retail pump pressure and fill rates, he said.
“We might be able to look at third-party calibrations for pump inspections on the consumer side,” Buck said.
In other business Thursday, Corporation Commissioners approved several other modifications for rules on petroleum storage tanks, fuel inspections, the petroleum storage tank indemnity fund and changes to rules for cleanup of spills from petroleum storage tanks.
I will be supportive of us not passing CNG rules if it turns out other agencies are appropriately taking care of the things, but it seems like that would involve a potential statutory change over what was done, so we’ll see what happens with that.”
Commissioner Dana Murphy,