PG&E Criminal Case Trimmed in San Bruno Blast

A federal judge dismissed some criminal charges against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. but the utility still must face the most serious allegations of wrongdoing in the deadly 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion that killed eight.

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson Wednesday kept in place 16 of 28 counts against PG&E, including obstruction of a National Transportation Safety Board investigation, and seven counts of faulty recordkeeping and willful violation of the federal Pipeline Safety Act, requiring detailed records of pipeline repairs.

Henderson did dismiss 12 counts that PG&E violated integrity-management (IM) regulations as duplicative, but did say he would allow the government to reinstate a single count alleging an IM violation.

The massive explosion of a major gas transmission pipeline under a residential neighborhood in San Bruno damaged or destroyed 108 homes, as well as killing eight people.

He rejected PG&E’s various claims that some charges were beyond the statute of limitations or failed to state a criminal violation.

Henderson had previously refused to dismiss the obstruction of justice count.

He had previously reduced PG&E’s potential criminal fine from the government’s request of a maximum $1.3 billion to $562 million.

The trial is set for March 8 in San Francisco.

Case: U.S. v. PG&E, No. 14-cr-175


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