Last year, I was driving home when the natural gas pipeline in San Bruno exploded. San Bruno is about 30 miles from where I live. People were calling it in to the news radio stations, but no one had any idea what it was. People thought a plane crashed. San Bruno is very close to the San Francisco International Airport. Eyewitnesses said it looked like a fireball. It took almost an hour to figure out that it was the gas pipeline. It was so hard to fight because of the constant stream of fuel. Shutting off the gas took almost an hour and a half. That nightmare explosion and fire killed 8 people.
A bill was introduced to strengthen the rules for oil and gas pipelines. Regulation. It got all kinds of opposition from the industry, companies, and Conservatives, right?
Industry trade associations like the Association of Oil Pipelines and gas companies like Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, Inc. (of Kentucky, interestingly) support the legislation. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voted unanimously on it.
What would it do?
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.
Would this cost tax payers a pretty penny? Nope. Industry fees would pay for it.
So why is Senator Rand Paul, Super Libertarian, the lone holdout?
Officials familiar with Paul’s objections 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.
Seriously? He won’t support an automatic shut off valve that can kill the literal fuel to the fire because he hates big government? Sorry, but that is insane. It gets even crazier. Last week, a natural gas pipeline ruptured in his home state, Kentucky. He still opposes it.
I embrace some things Libertarian – the live and let live philosophy, non-intervention, legalization of drugs. Regulation is one of the issues where we part ways. I believe it’s very important for the safety and economic protection of consumers.
The regulations here in CA are a lot stricter. This bill would bring more safety and oversight of oil and natural gas pipelines to the 49 other states. The industry supports it and is willing to pay for it. This should be a no-brainer for a Libertarian.
Message to Rand: Dude, we know you’re a Libertarian – the son of an OG Libertarian. And we know you hate the size and scope of the government. This is the thing – industry leaders and CEOs are telling you this regulation is cool. Relax. Your Libertarian card won’t be revoked if you vote for it.