Best PracticesWhile building and operating the necessary infrastructure to transport natural gas and liquid hydrocarbon products, which provide for the critical energy needs of Texas and beyond, member companies of the Texas Pipeline Association and their representatives commit to respecting landowners and communities, maintaining safe operations, and environmental stewardship. We also commit to conducting business in accordance with the following general guidelines for right-of-way acquisition, construction and operations:
- Establish and maintain communication with landowners and communities.
- Provide landowners with appropriate company contact information during right-of-way acquisition, construction and operations.
Right of Way Acquisition
- Communicate to landowners and to public officials, as appropriate, the scope and purpose of proposed projects, and the processes involved in construction, operation and maintenance of facilities.
- Strive to reach right-of-way acquisition agreements with landowners by negotiating in good faith with honesty and fairness.
- Respect landowners’ property.
- Assure company employed and contract right-of-way agents hold a current certificate of registration from the Texas Real Estate Commission.
- Be respectful of construction impact on community activities and attempt to minimize construction effects on community activities.
- Practice good housekeeping on landowners’ property, including protection of livestock and wildlife.
- Restore construction site in compliance with contractual obligations in a timely manner.
- Conduct operations in accordance with state and federal regulations.
- Strive to communicate with landowners prior to any significant maintenance operations on their property.
- Train personnel in safe operation practices and conduct emergency planning when appropriate.
- Apply appropriate engineering standards for our facilities and operations.
- Municipality will designate the department or person with whom pipeline operators should meet prior to obtaining easements for and planning of final pipeline route.
- Municipality will provide a packet of information, which includes all ordinances and other planning documents which are applicable to pipelines. Pipeline operators will read all ordinances in advance.
- Pipeline operators will present municipality with preliminary route(s) from origin to terminus within the municipality’s corporate boundaries together with fixed routing issues (e.g. known well locations that must be connected, existing right-of-way considered, required and anticipated issues along the preliminary route known by the pipeline operators to affect the routing).
- Municipalities will provide comments on preliminary route within a reasonable amount of time. Reasonable time is defined as not longer than two (2) weeks for gathering lines and not longer than four (4) weeks for transmission lines. Pipeline operators will respond to municipalities’ comments.
- The following language is from Section 181.005(c) of the Texas Utilities Code, and pipeline operators will comply with its requirements in determining routes within a municipality:In determining the route of a pipeline within a municipality, a gas corporation shall consider using existing easements and public rights-of-way, including streets, roads, highways, and utility rights-of-way. In deciding whether to use a public easement or right-of-way, the gas corporation shall consider whether:
(1) the use is economically practicable;
(2) adequate space exists; and
(3) the use will violate, or cause the violation of any pipeline safety regulations.
- Route will be as consistent as practical with existing municipal planning documents for existing and future municipal land uses while respecting private property rights.
- Both parties will strive for the most direct, cost effective, and time efficient route for the pipeline company.
- Pipeline operators will actively participate in planning of preferred pipeline routes with contiguous municipalities on a project by project basis.
- Pipeline operators will require right-of-way agents to be registered with the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC).
- Pipeline operators commit to negotiate in good faith with property owners before resorting to eminent domain.
- Municipalities commit, when practical, to grant temporary working easements within public rights of way during construction.
- Pipeline operators will promptly respond to complaints and will provide to the city contact information for a 24-hour representative who can be reached at all stages of construction.
- Pipeline operators will commit to avoid removing trees unless necessary for safety and/or regulatory compliance.
- Pipeline operators will provide copies of plans and final pipeline route within the municipality in a format acceptable to the Municipality.
- Municipalities and their contractors will commit to use the State’s One-Call system when undertaking any excavations in order to avoid damaging pipelines.
- Pipeline operators will work with municipalities to employ principles to reduce noise impact on neighboring residents and businesses.
- When the pipeline operator has the right to do so and it is reasonable to do so, and when it would not unreasonably interfere with pipeline operations, the pipeline operator may grant municipalities above ground uses in easements.