SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – The California legislature has passed a bill to require Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and other utilities to install remote-controlled automatic shut-off valves on gas transmission lines.

“The disaster in San Bruno could have been prevented. Lives could have been saved. The fires would have been put out right away,” said state Sen. Leland Yee, the bill’s sponsor.

It took PG&E 95 minutes to close the manual valve on the line feeding the natural gas that fueled the inferno that destroyed 38 San Bruno homes and killed eight people.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports On California Pipeline Bill:

Yee’s legislation cleared the state Assembly with a unanimous vote on Tuesday, the same day the National Transportation Safety Board released its long-awaited report putting the blame for the Sept. 9, 2010 explosion squarely on PG&E.

The NTSB said substandard welds and other problems dating to the 1956 installation of the gas transmission line were the direct cause of the accident. Its recommendations to prevent a similar disaster include requiring high pressure water tests on all pipelines regardless of their age, findings PG&E said in a statement it would “fully embrace.”

In some ways, the California law that would take effect in January is stronger than similar measures now pending before Congress that would bolster inspections for the nation’s underground pipeline system, said Rep. Jackie Speier who represents the Peninsula and part of western San Francisco.

“There is no requirement in either bill moving through the Congress right now to require automatic or remote shutoff valves unless they are new” or the pipeline is being completely replaces, Speier said.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports On Federal Pipeline Bills:

The federal legislation also does not eliminate so-called grandfathering provisions that exempt the oldest, most vulnerable pipelines from safety tests routinely performed on more modern pipelines.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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