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Pipeline Safety Bill Passes the Senate by Unanimous Consent
October 22, 2011
On Oct. 17, the Senate passed, by unanimous consent, S. 275, the Pipeline Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2011. The legislation would authorize more federal safety inspectors, increase penalties for violations and require pipeline companies verify their records on pipelines’ physical and operational characteristics and establish maximum operating pressures based on the verified information.
The bill passed the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee without opposition in May. It has been held up in the Senate by Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for the past few months who opposed the measure based on philosophical objection to new regulation. However, Sen. Paul dropped his opposition on Monday after an amendment was added regarding safety testing of older pipelines and the bill was accepted without a roll call vote or debate.
Two House committees have already unanimously approved separate pipeline safety bills, both of which are similar to the Senate legislation. The House is expected to iron out the differences between the two bills and have a single bill brought to the House floor by the end of the year.
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