Herrera calls for transparency and swiftness as CPUC considers new regulations for natural gas pipelines
City Attorney's additional recommendations support Representative Jackie Speier's recent proposal to the California Public Utilities Commission
SAN FRANCISCO (May 27, 2011)—City Attorney Dennis Herrera today submitted a list of additional recommendations to the California Public Utilities Commission, in support of Representative Jackie Speier's recent letter sent to Paul Clanon, Executive Director of the CPUC, proposing actions to ensure the safety of natural gas transmission lines.
"I commend Representative Jackie Speier's leadership in proposing important rule changes that will make the gas system safer and prevent other events like the disastrous gas pipeline blast in San Bruno," said Herrera. "The list of proposals submitted to CPUC on improving consumer safety in the delivery of natural gas serve as a reminder that there is a lot of work that must be done. I urge the Commission to consider the additional recommendations from the City & County of San Francisco and address all current proposals swiftly, with openness and transparency. Finally, interim orders must be issued immediately to ensure the safety of those living near gas transmission systems, while the CPUC considers the information and procedures necessary to implement comprehensive changes to gas safety rules."
The additional recommendations sent by Herrera today emphasize the importance and urgency of CPUC taking steps to require operators of gas pipelines to provide important safety information to the public and communicate regularly with local emergency responders; determine the resources needed to perform regular audit and inspections of the gas transmission system; and mandate safe and accurate practices for assessing maximum allowable operating pressure of pipelines.
In January, the National Transportation Safety Board, the lead agency investigating the explosion, issued urgent safety recommendations to PG&E, the CPUC and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Based on those recommendations, the CPUC ordered PG&E to locate “traceable, verifiable, and complete” engineering and design records for all of its pipelines for which it did not have records of pressure tests, and to determine the maximum allowable operating pressure using those records. PG&E's filings on March 15 and March 21 and subsequent proceedings at the CPUC have addressed safety concerns related to PG&E's record keeping and pipeline pressure testing practices. On April 1, Representative Speier issued a letter to the CPUC proposing fourteen safety measures. The Assigned Commissioner invited public comment on the Representative’s proposal through a ruling issued April 7.
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