Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rand Paul versus Rockefeller and Regulations

Senator Rand Paul is single-handedly blocking legislation that would strengthen safety rules for oil and gas pipelines, reports WaPo.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved the bill in May without opposition. It would authorize more federal safety inspectors, and pipeline companies would have to confirm that their records on how much pressure their pipelines can tolerate are accurate.

According to WaPo, under the bill, federal regulators could order that automatic shutoff valves be installed on new pipelines so leaks can be halted sooner. And it directs regulators to determine whether mandatory inspections of aging pipelines in densely populated areas should be expanded to include lines in rural areas. It would be paid for by industry fees.

The bill’s main sponsors — Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., the committee’s chairman, and Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. — have been trying to bring it to the Senate floor for passage by “unanimous consent,” essentially a voice vote. That requires Democratic and Republican leaders to check with each of their party members for objections.

Rand Paul is the only Senator objecting, even support for the measure from Kentucky companies hasn’t budged Paul.

Officials familiar with Paul’s objections, reports WaPo, said he has told lobbyists and company officials that he’s not opposed to any specific part of the bill, just to the notion of additional federal regulation.

“The rationale behind the hold is that he came to Congress as a person that doesn’t want to provide more regulatory authority to the regulators. He wants to look at those (regulations) and pull back where he can,” said Kyle Rogers, a vice president at the American Gas Association

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