Before Pipeline Explosion Calif. Utility Spent Millions on Political Campaigning

Back in September of 2010, a gas pipeline running underneath the city of San Bruno, California ruptured. The resulting explosion killed eight people. A recently finished investigation has revealed safety and engineering failures at many levels but, sadly, even the state agency charged with investigating seems to be hoping that the failures are hushed up. Why? Politics, of course.

Dennis Wyatt of the Manteca Bulletin read the new report issued by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the government agency charged with investigating the failures that led to the disaster, and he finds that the CPUC report “comes off more of a lapdog” than it does a watchdog of Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E).

The failed pipeline was built in 1956 and ran under the intersection of Glenview Drive and Earl Avenue in a residential section of the city. The section that failed (Line 132) exploded killing eight people and destroying 38 homes. 70 more homes were damaged by the explosion, 18 were left uninhabitable.

But even though the pipeline was laid in 1956, the investigation found that the welds and engineering of the project did not even meet the safety and other standards of the 50’s nor was the pipeline been properly assessed for safety today. Other failures were discovered, as well.

The government found that dealing with PG&E was difficult because of the obstinate “culture” of the energy producer, PG&E had a deficient system of records keeping, PG&E was admirably focused on the safety of its employees but was not as interested in the safety of the public, training of third party vendors was lacking or nonexistent, and post earthquake inspections went unperformed. There were many, many other systemic failures, was well.

Wyatt reports that PG&E did not fund many safety programs that it should have. Yet, the energy provider spent at least $46 million on Prop 16 in a “failed attempt to get voters to amend the California constitution to provide PG&E with a guaranteed monopoly.”

This $43 million is on top of the many millions in fines that PG&E had already paid for other safety violations going back several years.

What ever is going on between PG&E and CPUC, it certainly seems that the citizens of California are the last ones being considered.

Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago-based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com, BigJournalsim.com and all Breitbart News' other sites, RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, and many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs across the country to discuss his opinion editorials and current events as well as appearing on TV networks such as CNN, Fox News, Fox Business Network, and various Chicago-based news programs. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the book "Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture" which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of PubliusForum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston and follow him on Twitter, on Google Plus , and Facebook.

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