San Bruno Explosion Report Cries Out For Infrastructure And Regulatory Improvements


Nearly a year ago to the day, San Bruno spontaneously combusted. As attractive as it may be to blame Satan, the report issued by federal investigators places responsibility firmly on the shoulders of just about everyone at PG&E, past and present.

Via LA Times:

The National Transportation Safety Board also said PG&E exploited the lack of monitoring by regulators, who mistakenly placed "blind trust" in the utility.

The report Tuesday concluded that poor pipeline welds went undetected because of a lack of inspections by the company and inadequate monitoring by state and federal regulators. The utility also lacked a workable emergency response plan that board members said could have helped to prevent the devastation in the city of San Bruno.

"This represents a failure of the entire system — a system of checks and balances that should have prevented this disaster," said Robert L. Sumwalt, an NTSB board member. "The seam weld may have been the technical reason, but this was an organizational accident."

What's shocking, though, is how far back the failures go. In the report, the NTSB pinpoints faulty welds as far back as 1956. And of course, PG&E burned $46 million in the 2010 election to try and take over utilities maintained by municipalities, so they could make lots of money and not keep their pipelines maintained. Fortunately, they failed in that attempt.

The depth and breadth of the errors enumerated in this report reminds me of Rick Perry's ridiculous call for President Obama to place a moratorium on all regulations, if elected. Sure, that's what we need.

Perry said:

We’re calling today on the president of the United States to put a moratorium on regulations across this country, because his regulations, his EPA regulations are killing jobs all across America.

Actually, no. Lack of enforcement is killing people all across America, and if Rick Perry had his way, that would be just fine. That many fewer people to govern, I suppose.


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