4,000 Pages released in San Bruno pipeline investigation

July 21, 2011 9:25:09 PM PDT
Thursday, 4,000 pages related to the investigation into the San Bruno pipeline explosion were released by the National Transportation Safety Board. Among those documents was an interview with PG&E's former manager of gas line records Larry Medina.

The NTSB interviewed Medina just last month. He was the manager of PG&E's gas line records from 1983 to 1993. He says company reorganizations in 1986 and 1992 resulted in gaps in records-keeping, possibly critical records like the pressure test reports on Line 132 that PG&E has been ordered to find, but says it cannot.

When the San Bruno pipeline exploded last September, Medina had already been retired for 17 years, but he is third generation PG&E and could not ignore what happened.

When it became clear PG&E's records of a seamless pipe were wrong, and that records-inaccuracies might be at the heart of the accident, he left messages with PG&E executive Kirk Johnson to tell him where the records should be.

"They said, 'Well, we are convinced that we cannot find the information and that it probably never existed.' And my blood boiled when I heard that because I knew it existed. I was being paid for 10 years to manage it," said Medina.

Months later, a frustrated Medina contacted Congresswoman Jackie Speier's office to connect him with the NTSB.

Medina told them he came forward not to harm PG&E, but to help saying, "I feel very sorry for the people who were harmed... and any others that may be harmed from the lack of accurate information being available. But I know this information did exist and I have a feeling that it may still exist."

PG&E issued a statement Thursday thanking the NTSB for its work and saying it will continue to work on earning back the trust and confidence of its customers. The NTSB has set a tentative hearing date for the final report on the probable cause of the explosion which will be on Aug. 30, 2011.

A former PG&E gas line records manager told the NTSB that he was told some pipeline records were probably thrown away. Larry Medina retired in 1993, but in an 80-page interview given to the NTSB last month, Larry Medina says in December 2010, a PG&E employee in charge of a a records facility told him that when some records were transferred from San Francisco to Walnut Creek, "... if they couldn't identify what it was, it probably just got ____ canned.
Q. I'm sorry, say that again? Probably what?
A. Probably got ___ canned.
Q. Okay.
A. A little colloquialism.


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