“Herrera says NTSB hearing on San Bruno blast offers ‘devastating indictment’ against PG&E, regulators - Findings strongly support Herrera’s July 14 notice of intent to sue CPUC, PHMSA regulators
SAN FRANCISCO (Aug. 30, 2011) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera has issued the following statement in reaction to today’s National Transportation Safety Board meeting in Washington, D.C. to discuss and adopt the pipeline Accident Report relating to the natural gas pipeline explosion and fire that occurred in San Bruno, Calif. on September 9, 2010.
“NTSB’s report offers a devastating indictment, not just against PG&E, but also the California Public Utilities Commission and federal regulators for their failure to reasonably enforce safety standards,” Herrera said. “These conclusions point to the lax regulation that has enabled PG&E to flout regulations and safe gas pipeline operating practices for decades. NTSB’s report thoroughly supports my office’s allegations in my notice of intent to sue and in our comments to the CPUC. It makes clear that both agencies have a great deal of work to do to better regulate gas transmission pipelines and protect public safety. I commend the NTSB staff for its thorough investigation and comprehensive findings, and NTSB members for unflinchingly adopting the staff’s recommendations.”
More than half of the recommendations adopted by the NTSB today are directed at government entities — including CPUC, DOT, PHMSA, and the Governor of California. NTSB has indicated its intent to publish its synopsis of findings, probable cause, and recommendations at the following URL following today’s meeting:
On July 14, 2011, Herrera took the first step toward suing the California Public Utilities Commission and federal regulators for not reasonably enforcing gas pipeline safety standards as required by the federal Pipeline Safety Act. The notice of intent to sue is a legally-required precursor to civil litigation by San Francisco, which will seek a federal court order to compel the CPUC and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to enforce federal pipeline safety standards in an effective manner.
PG&E runs three major gas transmission lines — including the very same line that failed catastrophically in San Bruno last year, and another that dates back to the 1930s — under nine high-population-density neighborhoods in San Francisco where hundreds of thousands of people live and work, according to Herrera’s 14-page letter. Major facilities threatened by the failure of these inadequately inspected transmission lines include numerous schools and recreation centers, San Francisco City College, and San Francisco General Hospital, which typically contains more than 5,000 acute care patients and visitors, medical professionals and staff. Significant stretches of Highway 101 and Highway 280 additionally run over the antiquated lines.
Herrera’s July 14, 2011 notice letter outlines San Francisco’s prospective legal action, detailing the manner in which CPUC and PHMSA: (1) failed to enforce federal regulations mandating that pipeline operators maintain adequate records to enable the operator and regulators to ensure that pipeline conditions are not a threat to public safety; (2) failed to enforce federal regulations requiring that gas transmission pipeline operators identify all “high consequence areas” in which pipeline failure would result in significant harm to people and damage to property; (3) failed to enforce federal regulations mandating inspections of gas transmission pipeline integrity for pipelines susceptible to manufacturing and construction defects or other risks; (4) failed to ensure that CPUC had staff sufficient in number, training, and experience to adequately fulfill its obligations to regulate and enforce pipeline safety regulations; (5) failed to ensure that integrity management inspections of gas transmission pipelines in California are performed with sufficient frequency and thoroughness to ensure pipeline safety; and (6) failed to require PG&E to correct violations found in audits of PG&E’s integrity management practices.”
Man, that PG&E has issues, huh?
In lighter news, Rob Reiner explicates his ardor for Dennis Jose:
“I’ve been active in statewide politics for decades. I chaired the Prop 10 campaign in the 1990s to create the groundbreaking “First 5 California” program, which delivers critical services to millions of children from birth to age 5. I took on big developers to save our state parks and wildlife. And I fought big tobacco to protect public health, and to reduce its influence in Hollywood.
But it was as co-founder of the American Foundation for Equal Rights—which initiated the federal legal challenge to Prop 8 that eliminated marriage equality in California—that I had the opportunity to work closely with San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera.
And that’s why I’m endorsing Dennis Herrera for Mayor of San Francisco.
Not all San Franciscans fully appreciate the extent to which California looks to their city for strong, progressive leadership on issues that make a real difference in people’s lives—like civil rights, the environment and consumer protection. But we do.
That’s why what’s at stake in the 2011 San Francisco Mayor’s race is so important to all Californians. Dennis has a serious plan to create jobs and make San Francisco a model of a 21st century city. His proven record of leadership and professionalism is best suited to continue San Francisco’s honored tradition as a beacon of innovation and progress.
Dennis Herrera filed the first government lawsuit in American history to challenge state marriage laws that discriminate against lesbian and gay couples. His principled advocacy for the broad societal imperative of ending any-LGBT discrimination continues to make a persuasive difference in the courts in our fight for marriage equality.
A strong advocate for early childhood services, Dennis shares my conviction that government can and should do more to support schools, children, parents and teachers. And his record of accomplishment on consumer protection, the environment and public integrity is unmatched
Dennis has the best plan to make San Francisco a model 21st century city—and to continue San Francisco’s tradition as a beacon of innovation and progress.
Thank you so much for your support of Dennis.
Only 70 days?