Jul 28 by GJEL

Liquid Pipe Mistakes Could Cause Future California Pipeline Explosions

Last September, a PG&E pipeline explosion in San Bruno killed eight and left many more injured. Five years earlier, a Walnut Creek blast killed five workers and led to about 20 Contra Costa County lawsuits. GJEL partners Luke Ellis and Jim Larsen helped the family of Tae Chin Lm, a victim of the Walnut Creek pipeline explosion, recover $10.65 million. But in a report this week for the San Jose Mercury News, Ellis expresses concerns that California could see another tragic blast due to the location of dangerous liquid pipes. “There are a lot of lines where people don’t know they are near their schools or homes or hospitals,” he said. “You hit one of these things and you can have a catastrophic event.”

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Jul 13 by GJEL

PG&E Dodges Blame in San Bruno Pipeline Explosion Lawsuits

After flubbing their initial response to last September’s massive San Bruno pipeline explosion, utility Pacific Gas & Electric seemed to take responsibility for the accident, and even bought full-page ads in area newspapers proclaiming “We Apologize.” But in court filings this week, PG&E has backtracked, denying any blame for the deadly pipeline explosion and suggesting that other parties were at least partially responsible in order to dodge millions of dollars in damages from more than 100 lawsuits.

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Mar 28 by GJEL

PG&E Fined “Chump Change” Following San Bruno Pipeline Explosion

The California Public Utilities Commission fined PG&E $6 million last week for September’s devastating pipeline explosion, which many consumer advocates and San Bruno representatives call a major win for the California utilities company. The CPUC had initially threatened to fine PG&E $1 million per day (after the March 15 deadline) for concealing important records related to last fall’s pipeline explosion, but later cut the penalty significantly, saying PG&E had shown appropriate remorse. The fine could end up as low as $3 million if PG&E discloses the documents in question by August.

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Mar 01 by GJEL

What’s Happening at the PG&E San Bruno Pipeline Explosion Hearing?

The pipeline explosion sent waves of concern throughout the San Francisco Bay Area when it unexpectedly destroyed a San Bruno neighborhood, killing 8 people and injuring more than 50 others. Since, state and federal regulators have launched investigations into the energy provider that have so far revealed faulty record keeping systems that “maybe have been inadequate to make safety decisions.” This week, the National Transportation Safety Board intends to discover whether PG&E broke any laws and should be subject to penalties stronger than a slap on the wrist in a 3-day hearing. Below are some of the major issues that the NTSB will investigate further.

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Jan 31 by GJEL

New Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against PG&E for Pipeline Explosion

Jessica Morales was watching Thursday Night Football at her boyfriend’s house in San Bruno when a pipeline explosion resulted in the deaths of Jessica and seven other San Bruno residents last September. This week, Jessica’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against California’s Pacific Gas & Electric, saying the company knew the pipeline was at high risk and did nothing to prevent the looming explosion.

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Jan 20 by GJEL

Report: PG&E Pressure Tests Could Lead to Future Pipeline Explosions

Since 2003, California-based energy company Pacific Gas & Electric has spiked pressure on gas pipelines nearly a dozen times, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. PG&E claims the practice is for testing purposes only, but safety experts worry that in the case of September’s San Bruno pipeline explosion, the scheduled spikes may have weakened the transmission lines, making such an accident more likely. If this is the case, they say, the other 10 pipelines that experienced surges in the past 8 years could be vulnerable to similar pipeline explosions.

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Jan 06 by GJEL

Feds Urge Safety Improvements Following California Pipeline Explosion

It’s clear that the PG&E pipeline explosion in San Bruno in September was an unfortunate mistake. But it was also an avoidable mistake that killed eight people, which led the National Transportation Safety Board Monday to suggest seven important steps the gas and electric company can make to prevent future pipeline explosions. Six of the suggestions were confidential, but the seventh, asking PG&E to verify its records, indicates little operational faith in the agency and provides a clue into the type of scrutiny likely to overtake PG&E in the coming months and years.

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Sep 30 by GJEL

PG&E Pipeline Explosion in San Bruno Leads to 8th Death

When news outlets reported four dead in the days after this month’s tragic PG&E pipeline explosion in San Bruno, observers here in California and nationwide hoped the number wouldn’t continue to rise. Unfortunately, this week marked the passing of James Emil Franco, the eighth victim of the PG&E explosion. Franco, 58, was in his room 200 feet from the explosion when it occurred. State and national leaders need to call for stronger safety regulations to ensure that future pipeline explosions are less likely.

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Sep 16 by GJEL

Following PG&E Pipeline Explosion in San Bruno, DOT Urges New Safety Standards

I wish this had happened before, but I suppose it’s one of those ‘better late than never’ scenarios. In response to last week’s devastating pipeline explosion in San Bruno, the Department of Transportation has vowed to introduce a plan to improve safety in gas pipelines. Among other improvements, the proposal would increase the maximum fine for pipeline violations involving deaths or major environmental harm from $1 million to $2.5 million and add 40 safety regulators to the DOT by 2015.

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