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Senate passes pipeline safety bill in response to deadly California gas explosion, oil spills
WASHINGTON (AP) ' The Senate has given final approval to a bill that doubles the maximum fine for pipeline safety violations and adds penalties for obstructing safety investigations.
The compromise bill cleared the Senate Tuesday by a voice vote and now goes to the White House. The House approved the same measure on Monday.
Safety advocates said the measure is a modest step forward because it ignores several key recommendations arising from investigations of a 2010 gas pipeline explosion in California that killed eight people and two recent high-profile oil spills.
The bill doubles the maximum fine for safety violations to $2 million and authorizes the hiring of 10 more federal safety inspectors ' far fewer than sought by safety advocates.
Supporters said the bill improves safety without overburdening industry with unnecessary regulation.