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After string of pipeline spills and deadly blasts, Congress eyes new safety rules
Republican and Democratic lawmakers are considering plans that could spur major upgrades to the nation's aging energy pipelines, driven by a string of recent oil spills, deadly natural gas blasts and what they call federal regulators' inaction.
Since last summer, major pipeline accidents have destroyed neighborhoods in California and Pennsylvania and fouled waterways in Montana and Michigan. That's exposed gaps in oversight of the sprawling network of underground pipelines.
Now, politicians from both parties are pushing measures that would tighten control of the industry, which currently gives companies broad leeway to make sure their pipelines are running safely.
The new ideas include using modern technologies to detect leaks and shut down pipes during emergencies, replacing aging cast-iron pipes and tightening rules for pipeline stream crossings.