2135 Regulatory Changes

To the average gas buyer, the new natural gas industry presents few regulatory problems or concerns other than those imposed by local or state authorities. The federal regulations from prior years on natural gas have been reduced. While natural gas pricing is no longer under federal regulations, it is still tied to some of the original federal natural gas laws. In today's markets, these are essentially of no interference to commerce. It does mean that under certain extreme conditions, federal regulations could again be imposed on natural gas and certain uses could be restricted.

For the current conditions, the buyer mainly has to be concerned with local and state rules and regulations. Transportation, storage and handling regulations are again local and state but here, federal agencies do play a role. The Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency have jurisdiction in the areas of pipeline safety and environment, respectively. Buyers should insure in their negotiations and contracts with sellers, transporters, and providers that all regulations are covered and the responsibility for meeting these rules are a part of the transaction. The contracts for buying and transporting should speak directly to whose responsibility meeting the requirements will fall and which parties will be responsible for the consequences if failure occurs.

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