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Pipeline rules adopted years after deadly explosion, spills

BILLINGS, Mont. — U.S. transportation officials have finalized long-delayed measures meant to prevent pipeline spills and deadly gas explosions but don’t address recommended steps to lessen accidents once they occur.

The Department of Transportation rules published Tuesday apply to more than 500,000 miles of pipelines that carry natural gas, oil and other hazardous materials throughout the U.S.

They had been in the works for almost a decade following a massive gas explosion in San Bruno, California, that killed eight people and large oil spills into rivers in Michigan and Montana.

The rules require companies to more closely inspect underground pipelines, including in rural areas and after catastrophic weather events, and better record keeping.

Left unaddressed were longstanding recommendations from safety officials to install valves that automatically shut down pipelines following accidents.

Matthew Brown, The Associated Press