Pacific Gas & Electric proposes to streamline its compliance with the Endangered Species Act for its pipeline and transmission line operation and maintenance activities over the next 30 years in the San Joaquin Valley. Species such as the San Joaquin kit fox, the bald eagle, and the vernal pool fairy shrimp will not face any new dangers from the plan, according to the company. However, PG&E will no longer have to file with the agencies for ?take? permits?for the accidental killing of an endangered or threatened species?every time it carries out maintenance projects that have the potential to kill endangered flora and fauna. This week, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the state Department of Fish & Game started scoping sessions on the plan, affecting 12 million acres and nine counties. Federal and state agencies have to approve PG&E?s proposal. "It saves time and money for both the applicant and the company," said Al Donner, spokesperson for the federal Fish & Wildlife Service office in Sacramento. However, approval of the plan will limit environmental challenges, and the government has no funds to fix incidental problems. Under the California Environmental Quality Act, challenges to individual maintenance projects on the grounds of impacts on endangered and threatened species would be limited, according to Shawn Smallwood, a wildlife biologist who consults for Californians for Renewable Energy. While the Fish & Wildlife Service sometimes makes assurances that it will correct any problems that result from inadequacies in all-encompassing plans, the agency does not have sufficient funding to actually carry out that mitigation work, he added. Under the plan, PG&E has outlined how it will monitor endangered species and avoid or minimize any impact through adaptive management and mitigation actions, such as preservation, restoration, and habitat enhancement along its pipelines and power transmission lines. The utility will follow the plan both for pipeline protection and maintenance work, including repair, replacement, and repainting, and for work needed to protect, repair, and replace electric lines, including tree trimming and brush clearing. It also will cover minor extensions of the gas and electric lines. ?It?s going to go a long way to avoiding endangered species issues,? said Donna Daniels, staff environmental scientist for the California Department of Fish & Game. If PG&E?s proposal is approved, the utility would not be in violation of state and federal endangered species laws should it accidentally kill one of 67 species, including 31 listed as endangered and 36 not yet listed. This week, the two government agencies held meetings on PG&E?s proposal in Stockton and Fresno. The agencies hope to issue blanket endangered species permits to the utility within a year.