San Bruno sues CPUC for access to blast documents

San Bruno is suing state regulators over documents and e-mails related to the deadly 2010 gas line explosion.
February 4, 2014 7:29:38 PM PST
The city of San Bruno is suing the California Public Utilities Commission in hopes of getting access to sensitive documents. Documents the city says the commission is hiding from the public.

"We believe these records may provide evidence of improper contact and cozy relationships with the Pacific Gas and Electric Company that threaten the integrity of the ongoing penalty proceedings against PG&E," said San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane.

The pipeline explosion and fire ripped through a San Bruno neighborhood, destroying 38 homes and damaging many more. Eight people were killed and more than 60 were injured.

Three and a half years later, San Bruno city officials say they're still trying to get important, and possibly damaging, documents from the California Public Utilities Commission.

What the city wants most of all, are the emails the CPUC's Executive Director Paul Clanon may have sent to administrative law judges.

"The executive director appears to have tried to order the judges in the San Bruno penalty case to rule in favor of PG&E and against the public," said State Senator Jerry Hill's District Director Marc Hershman.

The city believes the emails will show that Clanon asked a judge to consider counting billions, which PG&E claims to have spent on pipeline improvements, towards the ultimate fine.

The lawsuit also wants emails and other communications that CPUC President Michael Peevey may have had with Wall Street analysts regarding the market's reaction to any large fines against the utility.

"The commissioners are not allowed to have ex parte contacts with Wall Street analysts because they are considered interested persons and it could affect the outcome of the decision," said City of San Bruno Special Counsel Britt Strottman.

The CPUC responded with a statement which says:

"We have already replied to several extensive records requests by the city of San Bruno and will continue to utilize our resources to evaluate and complete our responses."


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