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West Virginia House of Delegates Approves Bill to Increase Possible Pipeline Penalty to $2 Million

On February 28, 2013, the West Virginia House of Delegates reportedly approved a measure that would significantly increase maximum civil penalties for safety violations involving natural gas pipelines regulated by the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC).  Under current law, the PSC may impose a civil penalty of $1,000 per day for a pipeline safety violation, up to a maximum of $200,000.  The measure passed by the House of Delegates would raise those limits to $200,000 per day and up to a maximum of $2 million.  The penalty increase would apply only to natural gas pipeline facilities that are under the jurisdiction of PSC, which oversees about 10 percent of the facilities in the state.  The other 90 percent fall under state or federal jurisdiction.  The legislation now moves to the West Virginia Senate.