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Natural gas safety is an excellent cause for legislators to champion. Here are a few ways to get involved and spread the word:
• Lobby for a "Natural Gas Safety Day" in your state, city or community. While natural gas accidents are rare, it's still important for everyone to know the signs of a gas leak, as well as the proper steps to take if one is ever detected.
• Enforce "Call Before You Dig" laws and ask community members to report any unauthorized digging or suspicious activity by calling their local natural gas company or 9-1-1.
• If you are a member of a zoning commission, make sure all individuals applying for building permits are familiar with natural gas safety and safe digging practices. This is important even when granting minor permits, such as those for home additions and decks. Gas lines have been hit digging fence post holes, anchoring supports for decks and swing sets, planting trees, removing tree roots and driving landscaping stakes into the ground.
• Promote pipeline Rights of Way (ROWs) as "green space." (For more information about ROWs and easements, click here.) If development must occur near a pipeline, all residents should be informed ahead of time about the pipeline's presence.
• Require real estate agents to inform all buyers of any pipelines and/or ROWs that run through the land they wish to purchase (some states already require agents to make this disclosure).
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