This topic was suggested in response to ongoing efforts to improve Montana's one-call laws (Title 69, chapter 4, part 5). In Montana underground facility owners must belong to a one-call system and respond to requests to locate facilities. Excavators are liable for damage to facilities, and penalties are established in law. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is developing new federal rules to encourage states to strengthen one- call laws. The Pipeline Inspection, Protection, Enforcement, and Safety Act of 2006 authorized PHMSA to develop the new rules and to potentially take action if it is determined that a state's enforcement of pipeline safety regulations is inadequate. Montana's current one-call law fails to meet PHMSA standards, particularly in the areas of enforcement, according to a preliminary federal review. The new federal rules are expected in laste 2012 or early 2013 and will spell out federal expectations for state statutes. A large group of stakeholders met over the last two years to discuss options for improving Montana's one-call laws. The group provided regular updates to the ETIC
The ETIC dedicated .25 FTE to this topic. This study included panel discussions with stakeholders, a review of federal rules, a discussion of deficiencies in Montana's one-call law, and potential legislation to address any shortcomings in Montana's law. Because the federal rules were not final by the conclusion of the 2011-2012 interim, the ETIC did not pursue related legislation. The committee generated a report and requested stakeholders continue to monitor the issue.