San Francisco Sues U.S. Government over Deadly Pipeline Explosion
Monday, February 20, 2012
San Bruno explosion (AP Photo, Tony Avelar)
The U.S. Department of Transportation and one of its agencies is being sued by the city of San Francisco for the deadly gas pipeline explosion that occurred two years ago.
According to its lawsuit, the city claims the department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) “has been shirking its duty for over a decade, if not longer” and has failed to properly maintain national safety standards and adequate oversight of pipelines. The PHMSA is also accused of not ensuring that pipelines in the state complied with federal safety standards under the Pipeline Safety Act.
San Francisco authorities accuse PHMSA of creating “a regulatory scheme that improperly delegates to gas pipeline operators responsibility for the safe operation and maintenance of gas pipeline facilities.”
The Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) pipeline explosion occurred in San Bruno, where eight people were killed on September 9, 2010, and destroyed more than 100 homes. The lawsuit also cites another deadly PG&E natural gas line explosion in Rancho Cordova in 2008 and a non-lthal explosion in Cupertino in 2011.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
City Blames Feds for Pipeline Explosion (by Nick McCann, Courthouse News Service)
City and County of San Francisco v. U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. District Court, Northern California) (pdf)
Pipeline Explosion Survivors Accuse PG&E of Not Using Rate Hike Funds for Repairs (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
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