After all the fuss Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) made over whether or not Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT), his 2012 opponent, actually invited him to a US House hearing- you’d think the Senator would have been equally excited to get some face time in the US Senate. Which begs the question- did Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), a fellow Democrat, not invite Senator Tester to the hearing? Or, was he there and just absent from the coverage? The media only wanted to rain on Rehberg’s parade after all. Besides, Max needs all the focus he can get to try and boost his own numbers ahead of 2014. Gone should be the days, if you’re a Baucus loyalist, when the state’s senior senator and committee chairman can throw scraps of accomplishment in the junior senators direction.
The interesting political note aside, this AP story notes how the federal government found a problem in the pipeline that ending up leaking oil into the Yellowstone River, and didn’t order a shutdown.
Federal inspectors found a problem in an oil pipeline a month before it ruptured in a Montana river, but it was not significant enough to force a shutdown, the government’s top pipeline regulator said Wednesday.
Cynthia Quarterman, administrator of the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, told a Senate committee that the problem in the Exxon Mobil pipeline was discovered in early June, nearly a month before the pipeline ruptured on July 1, spilling an estimated 42,000 gallons of crude into the Yellowstone River.
Quarterman declined to offer specifics about what she called an “anomaly,” but said officials believed it was not significant enough to require repairs.