< Back to S. 1115 (105th Congress, 1997–1998)

Text of the Comprehensive One-Call Notification Act of 1997

This bill was introduced in a previous session of Congress and was passed by the Senate on November 9, 1997 but was never passed by the House. The text of the bill below is as of Nov 12, 1997 (Referred to House Committee).

Source: GPO

S 1115 RFH

105th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1115

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

November 12, 1997

Referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and in addition to the Committee on Commerce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


AN ACT

To amend title 49, United States Code, to improve the one-call notification process, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Comprehensive One-Call Notification Act of 1997’.

SECTION 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds that--

      (1) unintentional damage to underground facilities during excavation is a significant cause of disruptions in telecommunications, water supply, electric power and other vital public services, such as hospital and air traffic control operations, and is a leading cause of natural gas and hazardous liquid pipeline accidents;

      (2) excavation that is performed without prior notification to an underground facility operator or with inaccurate marking of such a facility prior to excavation can cause damage that results in fatalities, serious injuries, harm to the environment and disruption of vital services to the public; and

      (3) protection of the public and the environment from the consequences of underground facility damage caused by excavations will be enhanced by a coordinated national effort to improve one-call notification programs in each State and the effectiveness and efficiency of one-call notification systems that operate under such programs.

SEC. 3. ESTABLISHMENT OF ONE-CALL PROGRAM.

    (a) IN GENERAL- Subtitle III of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end thereof the following:

‘CHAPTER 61--ONE-CALL NOTIFICATION PROGRAM

      ‘Sec.

      ‘6101. Purposes.

      ‘6102. Definitions.

      ‘6103. Minimum standards for State one-call notification programs.

      ‘6104. Compliance with minimum standards.

      ‘6105. Review of one-call system best practices.

      ‘6106. Grants to States.

      ‘6107. Authorization of appropriations.

‘Sec. 6101. Purposes

    ‘The purposes of this chapter are--

      ‘(1) to enhance public safety;

      ‘(2) to protect the environment;

      ‘(3) to minimize risks to excavators; and

      ‘(4) to prevent disruption of vital public services,

    by reducing the incidence of damage to underground facilities during excavation through the adoption and efficient implementation by all States of State one-call notification programs that meet the minimum standards set forth under section 6103.

‘Sec. 6102. Definitions

    ‘For purposes of this chapter--

      ‘(1) ONE-CALL NOTIFICATION SYSTEM- The term ‘one-call notification system’ means a system operated by an organization that has as one of its purposes to receive notification from excavators of intended excavation in a specified area in order to disseminate such notification to underground facility operators that are members of the system so that such operators can locate and mark their facilities in order to prevent damage to underground facilities in the course of such excavation.

      ‘(2) STATE ONE-CALL NOTIFICATION PROGRAM- The term ‘State one-call notification program’ means the State statutes, regulations, orders, judicial decisions, and other elements of law and policy in effect in a State that establish the requirements for the operation of one-call notification systems in such State.

      ‘(3) STATE- The term ‘State’ means a State, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

      ‘(4) SECRETARY- The term ‘Secretary’ means the Secretary of Transportation.

‘Sec. 6103. Minimum standards for State one-call notification programs

    ‘(a) MINIMUM STANDARDS- A State one-call notification program shall, at a minimum, provide for--

      ‘(1) appropriate participation by all underground facility operators;

      ‘(2) appropriate participation by all excavators; and

      ‘(3) flexible and effective enforcement under State law with respect to participation in, and use of, one-call notification systems.

    ‘(b) APPROPRIATE PARTICIPATION- In determining the appropriate extent of participation required for types of underground facilities or excavators under subsection (a), a State shall assess, rank, and take into consideration the risks to the public safety, the environment, excavators, and vital public services associated with

      ‘(1) damage to types of underground facilities; and

      ‘(2) activities of types of excavators.

    ‘(c) IMPLEMENTATION- A State one-call notification program also shall, at a minimum, provide for

      ‘(1) consideration of the ranking of risks under subsection (b) in the enforcement of its provisions;

      ‘(2) a reasonable relationship between the benefits of one-call notification and the cost of implementing and complying with the requirements of the State one-call notification program; and

      ‘(3) voluntary participation where the State determines that a type of underground facility or an activity of a type of excavator poses a de minimis risk to public safety or the environment.

    ‘(d) PENALTIES- To the extent the State determines appropriate and necessary to achieve the purposes of this chapter, a State one-call notification program shall, at a minimum, provide for

      ‘(1) administrative or civil penalties commensurate with the seriousness of a violation by an excavator or facility owner of a State one-call notification program;

      ‘(2) increased penalties for parties that repeatedly damage underground facilities because they fail to use one-call notification systems or for parties that repeatedly fail to provide timely and accurate marking after the required call has been made to a one-call notification system;

      ‘(3) reduced or waived penalties for a violation of a requirement of a State one-call notification program that results in, or could result in, damage that is promptly reported by the violator;

      ‘(4) equitable relief; and

      ‘(5) citation of violations.

‘Sec. 6104. Compliance with minimum standards

    ‘(a) REQUIREMENT- In order to qualify for a grant under section 6106, each State shall, within 2 years after the date of the enactment of the Comprehensive One-Call Notification Act of 1997, submit to the Secretary a grant application under subsection (b).

    ‘(b) APPLICATION-

      ‘(1) Upon application by a State, the Secretary shall review that State’s one-call notification program, including the provisions for implementation of the program and the record of compliance and enforcement under the program.

      ‘(2) Based on the review under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall determine whether the State’s one-call notification program meets the minimum standards for such a program set forth in section 6103 in order to qualify for a grant under section 6106.

      ‘(3) In order to expedite compliance under this section, the Secretary may consult with the State as to whether an existing State one-call notification program, a specific modification thereof, or a proposed State program would result in a positive determination under paragraph (2).

      ‘(4) The Secretary shall prescribe the form of, and manner of filing, an application under this section that shall provide sufficient information about a State’s one-call notification program for the Secretary to evaluate its overall effectiveness. Such information may include the nature and reasons for exceptions from required participation, the types of enforcement available, and such other information as the Secretary deems necessary.

      ‘(5) The application of a State under paragraph (1) and the record of actions of the Secretary under this section shall be available to the public.

    ‘(c) ALTERNATIVE PROGRAM- A State may maintain an alternative one-call notification program if that program provides protection for public safety, the environment, or excavators that is equivalent to, or greater than, protection under a program that meets the minimum standards set forth in section 6103.

    ‘(d) REPORT- Within 3 years after the date of the enactment of the Comprehensive One-call Notification Act of 1997, the Secretary shall begin to include the following information in reports submitted under section 60124 of this title--

      ‘(1) a description of the extent to which each State has adopted and implemented the minimum Federal standards under section 6103 or maintains an alternative program under subsection (c);

      ‘(2) an analysis by the Secretary of the overall effectiveness of the State’s one-call notification program and the one-call notification systems operating under such program in achieving the purposes of this chapter;

      ‘(3) the impact of the State’s decisions on the extent of required participation in one-call notification systems on prevention of damage to underground facilities; and

      ‘(4) areas where improvements are needed in one-call notification systems in operation in the State.

    The report shall also include any recommendations the Secretary determines appropriate. If the Secretary determines that the purposes of this chapter have been substantially achieved, no further report under this section shall be required.

‘Sec. 6105. Review of one-call system best practices

    ‘(a) STUDY OF EXISTING ONE-CALL SYSTEMS- Except as provided in subsection (d), the Secretary, in consultation with other appropriate Federal agencies, State agencies, one-call notification system operators, underground facility operators, excavators, and other interested parties, shall undertake a study of damage prevention practices associated with existing one-call notification systems.

    ‘(b) PURPOSE OF STUDY OF DAMAGE PREVENTION PRACTICES- The purpose of the study is to assemble information in order to determine which existing one-call notification systems practices appear to be the most effective in preventing damage to underground facilities and in protecting the public, the environment, excavators, and public service disruption. As part of the study, the Secretary shall at a minimum consider--

      ‘(1) the methods used by one-call notification systems and others to encourage participation by excavators and owners of underground facilities;

      ‘(2) the methods by which one-call notification systems promote awareness of their programs, including use of public service announcements and educational materials and programs;

      ‘(3) the methods by which one-call notification systems receive and distribute information from excavators and underground facility owners;

      ‘(4) the use of any performance and service standards to verify the effectiveness of a one-call notification system;

      ‘(5) the effectiveness and accuracy of mapping used by one-call notification systems;

      ‘(6) the relationship between one-call notification systems and preventing intentional damage to underground facilities;

      ‘(7) how one-call notification systems address the need for rapid response to situations where the need to excavate is urgent;

      ‘(8) the extent to which accidents occur due to errors in marking of underground facilities, untimely marking or errors in the excavation process after a one-call notification system has been notified of an excavation;

      ‘(9) the extent to which personnel engaged in marking underground facilities may be endangered;

      ‘(10) the characteristics of damage prevention programs the Secretary believes could be relevant to the effectiveness of State one-call notification programs; and

      ‘(11) the effectiveness of penalties and enforcement activities under State one-call notification programs in obtaining compliance with program requirements.

    ‘(c) REPORT- Within 1 year after the date of the enactment of the Comprehensive One-Call Notification Act of 1997, the Secretary shall publish a report identifying those practices of one-call notification systems that are the most and least successful in--

      ‘(1) preventing damage to underground facilities; and

      ‘(2) providing effective and efficient service to excavators and underground facility operators.

    The Secretary shall encourage States and operators of one-call notification programs to adopt and implement the most successful practices identified in the report.

    ‘(d) SECRETARIAL DISCRETION- Prior to undertaking the study described in subsection (a), the Secretary shall determine whether timely information described in subsection (b) is readily available. If the Secretary determines that such information is readily available, the Secretary is not required to carry out the study.

‘6106. Grants to States

    ‘(a) IN GENERAL- The Secretary may make a grant of financial assistance to a State that qualifies under section 6104(b) to assist in improving--

      ‘(1) the overall quality and effectiveness of one-call notification systems in the State;

      ‘(2) communications systems linking one-call notification systems;

      ‘(3) location capabilities, including training personnel and developing and using location technology;

      ‘(4) record retention and recording capabilities for one-call notification systems;

      ‘(5) public information and education;

      ‘(6) participation in one-call notification systems; or

      ‘(7) compliance and enforcement under the State one-call notification program.

    ‘(b) STATE ACTION TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT- In making grants under this section the Secretary shall take into consideration the commitment of each State to improving its State one-call notification program, including legislative and regulatory actions taken by the State after the date of enactment of the Comprehensive One-Call Notification Act of 1997.

    ‘(c) FUNDING FOR ONE-CALL NOTIFICATION SYSTEMS- A State may provide funds received under this section directly to any one-call notification system in such State that substantially adopts the best practices identified under section 6105.

‘ 6107. Authorization of appropriations

    ‘(a) FOR GRANTS TO STATES- There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary in fiscal year 1999 no more than $1,000,000 and in fiscal year 2000 no more than $5,000,000, to be available until expended, to provide grants to States under section 6106.

    ‘(b) FOR ADMINISTRATION- There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary such sums as may be necessary during fiscal years 1998, 1999, and 2000 to carry out sections 6103, 6104, and 6105.

    ‘(c) GENERAL REVENUE FUNDING- Any sums appropriated under this section shall be derived from general revenues and may not be derived from amounts collected under section 60301 of this title.’.

    (b) Conforming Amendments-

      (1) The analysis of chapters for subtitle III of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end thereof the following:

‘CHAPTER 61--ONE-CALL NOTIFICATION PROGRAM’.

      (2) Chapter 601 of title 49, United States Code, is amended

        (A) by striking ‘sections 60114 and’ in section 60105(a) of that chapter and inserting ‘section’;

        (B) by striking section 60114 and the item relating to that section in the table of sections for that chapter;

        (C) by striking ‘60114(c), 60118(a),’ in section 60122(a)(1) of that chapter and inserting ‘60118(a),’;

        (D) by striking ‘60114(c) or’ in section 60123(a) of that chapter;

        (E) by striking ‘sections 60107 and 60114(b)’ in subsections (a) and (b) of section 60125 and inserting ‘section 60107’ in each such subsection; and

        (F) by striking subsection (d) of section 60125, and redesignating subsections (e) and (f) of that section as subsections (d) and (e).

Passed the Senate November 9, 1997.

Attest:

GARY SISCO,

Secretary.