It's the Capitol: Bill Directs PG&E Penalty to Safety Post-San Bruno

By Published On: September 11, 2014

San Bruno representatives object to the terms of state regulators’ proposed $1.4 billion penalty on Pacific Gas & Electric, including its diversion of nearly $1 billion to the state—not pipeline safety. A few days after the revised penalty proposal by the California Public Utilities Commission judge, Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) outlined legislation he plans to introduce that would prohibit the state general fund receiving more than two-thirds of the penalty—$950 million. The gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno occurred four years ago this week killing eight. Hill and San Bruno want the entire penalty spent on pipeline safety improvements to the utility’s system. The politicians also object to the reduction of the penalty in the latest revision. The proposal is $800 million less than what the commission safety division staff recommended earlier this year. Pending commission decisions assessing culpability for the blast claim the utility committed 3,798 violations of laws and rules governing the gas transmission system over several decades (Current, Sept. 5, 2014). Hill’s legislation also would create an independent monitor to oversee the spending of funds for PG&E safety upgrades. It also would create a pipeline safety trust. “We cannot bring back the eight innocent lives lost at the hands of PG&E and the [commission], but on the fourth anniversary of this senseless tragedy, we will continue to work on behalf of the victims and citizens of San Bruno to secure permanent funding for critical reforms, including an independent monitor and the establishment of the California pipeline safety trust, to safeguard the public from future negligence by PG&E and lax oversight by [regulators],” said San Bruno May Jim Ruane.

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