PG&E Faces Criminal Charges in San Bruno Pipeline Disaster

sanbrunoafterThe 2010 natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people was the result of Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s willful violation of the 1968 Pipeline Safety Act, a federal indictment charged Tuesday.

The criminal indictment alleges PG&E knowingly violated the act between 2003 and 2010 by failing to address recordkeeping deficiencies concerning its large natural gas pipelines, despite knowing their records were inaccurate or incomplete.  The case includes 12 alleged violations.

The San Bruno explosion resulted from the rupture of a 30-inch diameter steel pipeline in a neighborhood west of San FranciscoInternationalAirport.  Eight people died after a wall of fire rose 1,000 feet high and the shock wave registered as a 1.1 earthquake.

Some 35 homes were leveled and many more damaged.

The indictment alleges PG&E did not take appropriate actions to investigate the seriousness of threats to the pipeline when they were identified.  It also accused PG&E of failure to assess threatened pipes after they were over pressurized as required by the PSA regulations.

The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe and US Dept. of Transportation Office of Inspector General William Swallow and FBI Agent in Charge David Johnson.

“Today’s indictment is an important step in providing justice for the individuals, families and community devastated by the 2010 pipeline explosion and fire in San Bruno,” Harris said.

Case:  U.S. v. Pacific Gas & Electric Co., CR14-174TEH



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