Today's News / Facility Safety

A single senator plugs up pipeline safety bill

September 29, 2011
KEYWORDS bruno / pipeline / safety / senate
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

pipelinePosted with permission from FairWarning.org:

Prompted by last year’s deadly gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, Calif., lawmakers in Washington moved uncharacteristically quickly.

The Senate Finance Committee in May unanimously passed the Pipeline Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2011 to toughen regulations. As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, support for the legislation was so broad that Senate Democrats initiated steps to get it passed by unanimous consent.

And then the bill ran into Sen. Rand Paul, a first-term Republican from Kentucky. He is using his prerogative as a senator to place a hold on the legislation based on his philosophic objections to adding regulations and expanding the federal government. “Sen. Paul doesn’t think new regulations and the creation of dozens of bureaucratic positions should be swept through without sufficient debate and vote,” said his spokeswoman, Moira Bagley.

That maneuver has riled lawmakers such as U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat whose district includes San Bruno, where eight people were killed in the September, 2010 explosion of a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. pipeline. She said Paul is “putting his personal ideology above life and limb. I just find it deplorable.”

Theoretically, Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., could bring the legislation forward despite Paul’s hold but, as a practical matter, it would be an uphill struggle.

Speier’s frustration comes even though she thinks the bill would be insufficient. It would require installation of automatic or remote-control shut-off valves on new and replaced pipelines. She and California’s two Democratic senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, want such equipment on older pipelines, too, because those have the highest risk of failure.

Paul has stood in the way of the Senate bill despite a gas pipeline explosion in his home state last week that jolted residents of three counties. And he has maintained his position even though, as The Associated Press reports, the bill is supported by the industry’s major trade associations.

The push to tighten federal pipeline oversight, however, isn’t dead. The Obama administration could impose safety rules on its own. A unit of the Department of Transportation, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, issued a notice of proposed rule-making last month that could lead to new requirements for gas pipelines.

About FairWarning

FairWarning (www.fairwarning.org) is a nonprofit, online news organization focused on issues of safety, health and government and business accountability.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

Recent Articles by Stuart Silverstein

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

11/4/14 2:00 pm EST

Eye Injuries: You rarely see them coming. Practical Solutions for reducing injuries to the eye.

The 3M Eye Injury Reduction webinar will provide an examination of how to help solve eye injuries in the workplace. This issue continues to challenge virtually every industry, and the solution is often times multifaceted. 3M will share some new tools and approaches to help you in solving this issue.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN1014_cover.jpg

2014 October

This issue features articles about PPE safety and OSHA standards

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - SEPTEMBER 2014

ISHN FDO SEPTEMBER 2014For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THE SEPTEMBER 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.