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Speier To Push Pipeline Safety When New Congress Convenes

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San Bruno explosion, gas pipeline

View of ruptured section of the San Bruno pipeline that caused an explosion, September 9, 2010, with an investigator cleaning a fracture surface. (NTSB)

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SAN MATEO (KCBS) – A Bay Area lawmaker is vowing to re-introduce her pipeline safety bill when the new Congress convenes this week amid the release of new federal recommendations urging changes to safety guidelines.

Rep. Jackie Speier (CA-12) said the investigation into the San Bruno explosion showed the need for her proposal.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

Monday, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a series of seven safety recommendations – six of them urgent – to PG&E, the California Public Utilities Commission, and other gas companies it regulates regarding testing of transmission pipelines.

Federal investigators report that problems with record-keeping could lead to operating a pipe at a higher pressure than it was built to withstand.  Monday

It remained unclear whether that contributed to the September 2010 tragedy, but Speier said she still had questions about the entire pipeline system.

“We must know what’s under the ground,” she declared. “And we must know at what pressure these pipes can be operated safely at.”

Speier said her bill would mandate that PG&E, and other utilities, provide accurate information.

“It requires them to share with the homeowner the existence of the pipeline if they’re within 500 ft. of it.”

The proposed legislation also called for utilities to share pipeline details with first responders, as well as the installation of automatic shut-off valves on pipelines in heavily populated areas.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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