Mayor pushing for massive fines against PG&E in San Bruno blast

Mayor Jim Ruane is pushing for massive fines against PG&E over the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion that killed eight people.
April 2, 2014 8:59:02 PM PDT
With criminal charges now pending against PG&E for the San Bruno pipeline disaster, officials are pushing for massive fines and something else as well.

The mayor is upset with what he describes PG&E's smug attitude and he wants them to stop insisting the terrible explosion was an accident.

Lot by lot, house by house, the rebuilding continues in the San Bruno neighborhood leveled by a massive pipeline explosion more than 3.5 years ago.

"It's about time PG&E steps up to the plate and says we did cause this," San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane said.

On Monday, PG&E was indicted on 12 federal criminal charges from that disaster, including failure to identify threats to its pipeline.

The utility has refused to talk with ABC7 News and instead released a video statement.

"San Bruno was a tragic accident. We have taken accountability and are deeply sorry," PG&E spokesperson Greg Snapper said.

That statement has angered San Bruno's mayor.

"They keep calling this an accident and keep talking about what they've done and what they're going to do in the future. This was not an accident. This could have been prevented and because of PG&E and the lack of oversight by our own public utilities commission, eight people lost their lives, eight people died," Ruane said.

Ruane wants the book thrown at PG&E with the maximum fine possible, which would be $3.8 billion and wants remedies including the installation of automated shut off valves and an independent monitor to oversee safety improvements.

For some people living in the devastated neighborhood, no punishment can really replace what was taken.

"It took 18 months to rebuild. We were displaced for that amount of time. We were fortunate enough to stay with family and we're back now trying to resume normal life," San Bruno resident George Karkazis said.

The mayor says the Public Utilities Commission is also culpable in his opinion. They have failed to make meaningful reforms. But the CPUC released a statement to ABC7 News saying, "They have made changes internally and in the safety requirements they now demand of PG&E.


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