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HB24-1359

Public Notification of Hazardous Chemical Releases

Concerning measures to increase public knowledge of hazardous chemicals released through oil and gas operations.
Session:
2024 Regular Session
Subject:
Natural Resources & Environment
Bill Summary

Current rules of the energy and carbon management commission (commission) require oil and gas operators to submit certain reports (covered report) to the commission in the event of a spill or release of a hazardous chemical (incident). The bill enacts the "Community Right to Know Act" to create additional notification requirements in the event of an incident (notification requirements). On and after July 1, 2024, oil and gas operators must, within 24 hours after the discovery of an incident, submit a covered report to the commission and the following state agencies (notification agency):

  • For an incident involving air emissions or water contamination, the department of public health and environment;
  • For an incident involving public conveyances, the department of transportation; and
  • For an incident that results from a clear act of sabotage, vandalism, or a terrorist activity, the division of homeland security and emergency management in the department of public safety.

The oil and gas operator must also, within 24 hours after the operator's submission of the covered report to a notification agency, deliver the covered report to certain persons that are located near the well site where the incident was caused (affected persons).

Within 24 hours after the receipt of a covered report from an oil and gas operator, a notification agency must:

  • Confirm with the oil and gas operator that the oil and gas operator has provided the covered report to any affected persons;
  • Provide the covered report to any affected persons that have not yet received a covered report from the oil and gas operator;
  • Provide the covered report to the county public health department and the county emergency notification party of the county or counties where the incident occurred; and
  • On and after July 1, 2025, provide the covered report to the person designated by the executive director of the department of local affairs (DOLA) to receive covered reports from the notification agencies (designated person).

On and after July 1, 2025, no later than 24 hours after the receipt of a covered report for a certain heightened level of an incident (warning-level covered report) from a notification agency, if the county public health department has an existing opt-in notification system, the county public health department must notify medical professionals in the county that have opted in to the county public health department's notification system about the incident.

On and after July 1, 2025, no later than 24 hours after the receipt of a warning-level covered report from a notification agency, the county emergency notification party must:

  • If the county has an existing opt-in public emergency notification system, notify all individuals residing in the county that have opted in; and
  • If the county does not have an existing opt-in public emergency notification system but has an existing public emergency notification system, notify all individuals residing in the county.

On and after July 1, 2024, DOLA must maintain and routinely update a list of contact information for the county public health department and the county emergency notification party for each county in the state on DOLA's website.

The bill also creates the hazardous chemical notification committee (committee) in DOLA. On or before July 1, 2025, the committee is required to develop content for a hazardous chemical notification website (website) that includes certain informational and educational content about hazardous chemicals, including short-term and long-term adverse health impacts, and an entry for each covered report received by the designated person on and after July 1, 2025.

Beginning in the 2026 calendar year, and in each calendar year thereafter, the committee must meet on a quarterly basis to make updates to the content of the website.

On or before July 1, 2026, and on or before each July 1 thereafter, DOLA must submit a written report (hazardous chemical notification report requirement) to the health and human services committee of the house of representatives and the health and human services committee of the senate, which report must include a summary of the notifications made by oil and gas operators, the notification agencies, county public health departments, and county emergency notification parties in the previous year.

On or before July 1, 2025, and each calendar year thereafter, county public health departments and county emergency notification parties are required to provide a training to medical professionals and the public on the short-term and long-term adverse health impacts of exposure to hazardous chemicals and the notification requirements (training requirement).

The bill provides for a repeal of the committee, the hazardous chemical notification report requirement, and the training requirement, effective September 1, 2034, after review in accordance with the general assembly's sunset review process.

The bill also:

  • Creates a $1,000 per day penalty for an oil and gas operator that does not comply with the notification requirements (violation); and
  • Provides that if an oil and gas operator commits a violation 3 or more times, the oil and gas operator may not claim a waiver of liability for damages related to the third or subsequent violation.
    (Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)

Status

Introduced
Lost

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Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details