Republican Sen. Rand Paul is single-handedly blocking legislation that would strengthen safety rules of oil and gas pipelines, despite the fact that the bill has industry support simply because he hates government.
In fact, Sen. Paul’s hatred of government runs so deep that his opposition to the bill didn’t change even after a gasline rupture shook three counties in his home state, Kentucky.
It was after a deadly gas pipeline explosion in a San Francisco suburb last year, and on the heels of other recent explosions and oil pipeline spills, that Congress and the oil and gas industry agreed an overhaul of federal safety regulations was in order.
The bill Sen. Paul opposes would authorize more federal safety inspectors, and pipeline companies would have to confirm that their records on how much pressure their pipelines can tolerate was accurate. The bill would also allow federal regulators to order that automatic shutoff valves be installed on new pipelines to halt leaks sooner. The provisions would expand pipeline inspections to rural areas and would all be paid for by industry fees.
Ideology may serve Sen. Paul well on the campaign trail, but it is doing zero good for his constituents or the rest of America. So far all the Tea Party has proven is its ability to get nothing done but obstruct bills that have the rare bipartisan support.
Photo from gageskidmore via flickr.