California Senators Ask Paul to Lift Hold on Pipeline Safety Bill

California’s U.S. senators are calling on Kentucky’s Rand Paul to stop holding up a pipeline safety bill. The Pipeline Transportation Safety Improvement Act was introduced in February, several months after a gas pipeline burst in San Bruno, California and killed eight people.

Paul has placed a procedural hold on the bill, which means it can’t be fast-tracked and needs 60 votes to overcome the hurdle. In an interview last week, Paul said he didn’t think new regulations should be created without an adequate amount of debate.

In a letter sent to Paul, California’s Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein refuted Paul’s earlier claims that the bill wouldn’t have prevented the San Bruno accident. They’re asking Paul to reconsider the hold, so other communities won’t suffer the same fate.

The bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in May. It has bipartisan support, as well as backing from industry groups like the American Gas Association. A House of Representatives committee unanimously passed a similar bill late last month.

In a statement, Paul said it would be a disservice to the victims of the accident not to carefully read the legislation. He is scheduled to meet with experts from the National Transportation Safety Board tomorrow to discuss the issue.