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August 31st, 2011:

Federal Watchdog Faults Utility, Regulators in Deadly Gas Explosion

American Energy Coalition - August 31st, 2011

A federal safety panel reported that mistakes and lax inspections by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) were to blame for a natural gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people and burned a suburban San Francisco neighborhood in 2010, according to a USA Today article

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) cited substandard welds and other problems dating to the 1956 installation of the gas line as the direct cause of the September 9 accident in San Bruno, Calif., the article states. 

The Board also said that the California Public Utilities Commission failed to detect problems with PG&E's safety procedures, including a lack of automatic shutoff valves, USA Today reported. 


"It was not a question of if this pipeline would burst," said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman. "It was a question of when." 

The NTSB warned that the problems that led to the tragedy in San Bruno could exist elsewhere. 

The explosion sent a giant plume of fire into the air that burned for 95 minutes before utility workers were able to shut off the gas. In addition to eight deaths, dozens of people were injured and 55 homes destroyed or damaged. 

Investigators identified a substandard seam weld in the pipeline. PG&E has said it didn't know of the welds because its records incorrectly listed the pipe as seamless. 

To read the USA Today article, please click here.

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