ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE WORK GROUP

PRELIMINARY SUPPLEMENTAL REPORT TO

 THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA KAMALA HARRIS

BY HON. NATE HOLDEN, TRANSITION TEAM MEMBER

 

 

SAN BRUNO GAS ERUPTION

 

         The San Bruno gas eruption of September 9th 2010 that left 8 people dead, dozens injured and rendered 55 homes uninhabitable (mostly destroyed), far exceeds the $100 million pledge Pacific Gas & Electric has made for the damages to the City of San Bruno.  The San Bruno pipeline was constructed in 1956, 55 years ago.  During that period of time, the pipeline was subjected to a series of earthquakes in that area.  The most serious earthquake, the Loma Pierta quake, measured a 6.9.  The San Andreas Fault, which triggered the Loma Pierta quake, runs directly underneath of the City of San Bruno. 

 

         Since 1956, the San Bruno pipeline has been subjected to many earthquakes, which over time caused fatigue within the pipeline.  Because of ageing and periodic displacement of the pipeline, it was necessary to maintain a maintenance program, which would identify problems in the pipeline that need to be repaired.  It appears that PUC and of course PG&E did not have an agreed upon maintenance schedule for this pipeline or perhaps any other pipeline in the State of California.  The Attorney General can correct this problem by supporting legislation, which will mandate periodic inspection of all pipelines in the State of California.  The legislation would require that PUC supervise the inspection program. 

 

         During the original construction of the pipeline there was faulty welding (NTSB Report) in the longitudinal and circumferential girth welds.  Figures 1-3 show that there are defects in the welding of the pipes.  To me, this means that there are defects such as these in all of PG&Es pipelines.  This is a good case for the Attorney General, as these examples only scratch the surface of what is likely to keep occurring in the State of California.  I strongly recommend that the Attorney General, Kamala Harris, immediately direct the PUC to identify every PG&E pipeline in the State of California and require an immediate inspection of those pipelines for defective welds.  Its essential that the Attorney General take action right away.  The AG must be aware that pipelines that were built more than 50 years ago are exploding all around the country, costing lives and destroying property.  Recent incidents in late 2010 and 2011 include the explosions in Michigan (Wayne 2 dead, 2 injured), Philadelphia, (Tacony 1 dead, 5 injured), and Pennsylvania (Allentown 3 dead, 2 missing).  We must not wait for another explosion to occur in California before the Attorney General acts.

 

         On every occasion where there is a need to protect the public health and the environment, I was pro-active. In 1987, I took legislative action to oppose the Southern California Pipeline System (SCPS), a joint venture between ARCO, Chevron, Texaco and Shell.  The other members of the Los Angeles City Council joined me in stopping the construction of the SCPS (Council File:  85-1359-S2 Angeles Pipeline). 

 

 

Attorney General Kamala Harris, Transition Team Environmental Justice – Holden / Datig 02.09.11

 

 

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