SAN BRUNO (KCBS) – In the nearly one month since the San Bruno pipeline explosion, a number of lawmakers and city leaders have expressed frustration about the seeming lack of information from PG&E about its network of gas lines throughout the Bay Area.

In response, some elected officials launched an aggressive push for changes.

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KCBS Anna Duckworth Reporting:

“We can’t afford to let this happen again,” declared Rep. Jackie Speier (CA-12).

The peninsula congresswoman initiated weekly meetings with officials from the utility in the wake of the September 9, 2010 disaster. She was made privy to new information.

“They identified that there were two automatic shutoff valves in all of this region. And they’re at 92 and Half Moon Bay.”

Speier joined forces with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to introduce legislation mandating automatic shutoff valves in residential areas so gas could be turned off more quickly.

Shutoff valves became a topic of debate in the wake of the tragedy, given the amount of time it took to turn off the gas in San Bruno.

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“An hour and forty-six minutes is just unacceptable, pure and simple,” Speier said. “When the fire chief said ‘we were in a defensive mode until they turned off the gas and then we could be combative,’ it says it all, doesn’t it?”

Speier reasoned it would never be known how many lives and homes could have been saved, but for the shutoff valve problem. She added that such valves were already required on oil pipelines.

“You could make the case it’s more dangerous on gas pipelines than on oil pipelines, so why haven’t we demanded it?”

The death toll, she said, underscored the importance to her of making changes sooner rather than later.

“How many people’s lives were lost? How many homes were lost?”

“When I walked into the burn unit at St. Francis and talked to those victims, or talked to the mother who lost her husband, her son, and her mother-in law, and feel the pain, we just can’t afford to let this happen again,” she declared.

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