U.S. Passes New Pipeline Rules

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 (UPI) — A bill passed by the U.S. Senate ensures the American public isn’t in danger of gas pipelines “exploding under their feet,” a California lawmaker said.

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a pipeline safety bill late Monday. The bill was in part a response to a gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reports.

A Sept. 9, 2010, gas explosion ejected a 28-foot section of pipeline out of the ground, causing a fireball in a San Bruno neighborhood that left eight people dead and 38 homes destroyed.

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a state measure that mandates automatic shut-off valves for pipelines and requires gas companies to pressure test transmission lines in the state.

The National Transportation Safety Board, in a yearlong investigation, found Pacific Gas and Electric didn’t know what kind of pipe was beneath San Bruno. The pipeline was installed in 1956 and PG&E had said the pipeline was seamless. The NTSB, however, said no manufacturer had produced that type of pipeline at the time it was installed.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said the vote requires older pipelines like the San Bruno line be tested to determine a safe operating pressure.

“Simply put, Californians shouldn’t have to worry about streets exploding under their feet because of lax safety regulations,” she said in a statement.

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