Penalties for Safety Violations Could Increase
We’re halfway through with the 2014 legislative session, and conservation bills are very slowly making their way through both the House and Senate. Conservation Alabama continues to watch progress of both the wind and solid waste bills, but other conservation related bills have been introduced.
New this week is a bill introduced by Senator Greg Reed that would increase the amount of penalties charged to companies for safety standard violations for gas or hazardous liquid pipelines. Currently the Public Service Commission can inspect these pipelines and assess a $10,000 civil penalty for violations of safety hazards. SB341 would allow for civil penalties up to $200,000 per incident and up to two million dollars for any related series of violations, placing them in line with federal penalties. The hope is that these higher fines will promote better safety standards as companies work to avoid a hefty fine. Conservation Alabama supports this bill and its efforts to promote safety and protect our families and communities.
Another piece of legislation, the Green Buildings Standard Prohibition, is back from last year. Senate Bill 152 would prohibit using green building standards, such as LEED, for public buildings. The proposed ban is a result of LEED standards for timber products, which just so happen to differ from other commonly used standards in the state. How much does timber certification factor into the 110-point LEED grading system? It affects one single point. In addition to promoting water and energy efficiency, LEED building standards promote jobs and regional economies. Conservation Alabama is opposed to this bill and any ban on LEED.
None of these bills are currently scheduled for a vote this week, but that is subject to change.