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Paul Offers Amendment, Lifts Opposition to Pipeline Safety Bill

A bill to update the nation’s pipeline safety standards after a fatal explosion in California has passed the U.S. Senate, despite long-term opposition by Kentucky senator Rand Paul. Paul had been single-handledly blocking the legislation for weeks.

The bill would put new safety and environmental measures in place to regulate natural gas pipelines. The measure was introduced after a pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California killed eight people last year.

Last month, Paul placed a procedural hold on the bill, which stopped it from being fast-tracked. He later offered an amendment to the measure, reversed his position and lifted the hold.

The bill passed unanimously. Paul’s amendment adds pipeline testing requirements, as recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Environment Local News Politics

Paul Meets With NTSB to Discuss Pipeline Hold

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is continuing his block on a bill that would update safety regulations on natural gas pipelines. Paul met with members of the National Transportation Safety Board about the matter today.

The legislation was introduced in response to an explosion at a gas pipeline in San Bruno, California last year that killed eight people. The measure has bipartisan support and passed through committee unanimously, but 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.

California’s two senators have called on Paul to lift his hold, stressing the importance of the legislation to prevent other communities from suffering pipeline explosions.

In a statement, Paul stressed the need for sufficient debate on the bill. He said that the legislation was written before the board issued recommendations to prevent another disaster similar to San Bruno. Specifically, he wants a clause removed from the bill that exempts older pipelines from the regulation.

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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.