PG&E Indicted for Criminal Violations in 2010 San Bruno Pipeline Explosion

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A federal grand jury in San Francisco on April 1 indicted Pacific Gas & Electric on 12 federal charges related to the September 2010 gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes in San Bruno, Calif.

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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris released a statement on the indictment for criminal violations of the federal Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968, calling it “an important step in providing justice for the individuals, families and community devastated by the 2010 pipeline explosion and fire in San Bruno.”

The indictment alleges that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) “knowingly and willfully failed to identify and evaluate threats to its transmission pipelines, including Line 132 underneath much of San Bruno,” Harris said in the statement. “When allegedly faced with evidence of transmission line problems, PG&E knowingly and willfully chose not to assess and remediate them.”

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment against PG&E are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proved guilty.

On Sept. 9, 2010, a portion of PG&E’s Line 132 in San Bruno exploded and resulted in a fire that killed eight people, injured 58 others and damaged or destroyed numerous homes.  The California Department of Justice has been conducting a criminal investigation related to the explosion in partnership with local authorities from the San Mateo District Attorney’s Office, the San Bruno Police Department and the San Bruno Fire Department, as well as federal agencies including the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration.

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