By MATTHEW BROWN
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. officials are adopting a long delayed rule aimed at reducing deaths and environmental damage from oil and gas pipeline ruptures. But safety advocates said Thursday’s move by the U.S. Transportation Department would not have averted the accidents that prompted the new rule. That’s because it applies only to newly constructed or replaced pipelines and not to hundreds of thousands of miles of lines that already crisscross the country, many of them decades old and corroding. The rule is in response to a massive gas explosion in San Bruno, California, that killed eight people in 2010 and to large oil spills into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River and Montana’s Yellowstone River.