Cascade Natural Gas penalized $2.5 M for pipeline safety violations
OLYMPIA, WA – Today the Utilities and Transportation Commission approved a settlement agreement between pipeline safety staff and Cascade Natural Gas Corp., in response to a complaint filed against the company for violating state and federal pipeline safety regulations.
Under the settlement agreement, Cascade will pay $1 million, and could face an additional $1.5 million in penalties if the company fails to complete a comprehensive compliance program by agreed deadlines.
A 2016 staff investigation revealed that the company was unable to provide required documentation for nearly 40 percent of its high-pressure pipelines in the state of Washington.
The compliance program requires Cascade to validate the Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure for every pipeline operating above 60 psig, focusing on high-risk pipelines. Cascade also is required to submit to a third-party audit evaluating the company’s pipeline safety management program.
The commission approved the settlement with the following conditions:
The company must pay a $1 million penalty within 10 business days of the order;
The commission can impose any of the suspended $1.5 million penalty for failure to comply with provisions or compliance items listed in the settlement;
The settlement agreement does not prevent commission staff from pursuing penalties, or other corrective action, for violations of any pipeline safety regulation that leads to injury, death, or property damage; and
Cascade alerts staff to significant changes in the company’s MAOP validation progress as soon as identified, even if this communication is more frequent than the six month intervals outlined in the settlement.