Hearing Held On Pipeline Safety

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(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

MelissaCulross_180 Melissa Culross
Melissa Culross had intended to become a novelist but was side-lined...
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WASHINGTON (KCBS) — The Senate Commerce Committee took up the issue of pipeline safety on Tuesday in the wake of the San Bruno explosion and fire.

Senator Barbara Boxer had some pointed questions for PG&E President Christopher Johns, including some on shut off systems for gas pipelines, especially those in populated areas.

“Will you commit to installing remote access or automatic shut off valves on those high-risk pipelines?” she asked. “I will work with the CPUC to put them in where everybody believes they make sense to put in,” Johns responded.

KCBS Melissa Culross Reporting:

It took PG&E two hours to cut off gas to the pipeline that exploded in San Bruno because valves had to be closed manually.

Along with Senator Diane Feinstein, Boxer has introduced legislation to double the number of federal pipeline inspectors, increase penalties for safety and require electronic pipeline shut off valves.

National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman Christopher Hart also testified and said his agency’s investigation into the San Bruno tragedy continues.

“We will be looking at all the possible causes of this mishap, including corrosion, including whether there was damage from a nearby excavation,” Hart said. “We will be looking at all the potential causes to determine exactly what caused this burst.”

The NTSB plans to have a report completed on the explosion in 12 months.

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