Calls for Change after California Pipeline Explosion

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sept 12: A section of pipe (lower right) is seen near a massive crater at the scene of a gas main explosion on Sept 9 in San Bruno, California. 38 homes were destroyed and 4 people killed. (Justin Sullivan/Getty)

When residents of San Bruno, Calif. heard a piercing squeal followed by an earth-shaking crash on Thursday evening, many thought an airplane had crashed in the neighborhood. In fact, even after they were told the deadly fireball that ensued was from an exploded natural gas pipeline, it was hard to believe: Few of them had ever been told the pipeline existed.

The blast and subsequent fire killed at least four people, injured at least 60 and destroyed nearly 50 homes. While most residents have now returned to their homes, local and federal officials are still investigating the cause of the explosion, which blew a segment of pipe 28 feet long onto the street some 100 feet away, creating a crater 167 feet long and 26 feet wide.

The San Bruno fire department has public advocates calling for stricter safety regulations for the 2.3 million plus miles of pipelines throughout the country, of which only seven percent are required to be inspected. Advocates are also calling for more transparency for residents living above transmission pipelines.

We speak with Bill Boone, a resident of San Bruno who witnessed the explosion and its aftermath; along with Carl Weimer, executive director of the watchdog organization Pipeline Safety Trust.

Comments [1]

David Zapen from Miami FL (WLRN)

Energy independence is easy, but it will upset special interests who now have no limits. Thom Hartmann says the real price of gasoline is $10/gallon, not $3+ paid at the pump, if you include Defense costs in Iraq and Afghanistan to control oil wells and pipelines and the $365B/year to import oil, never mind the $3T real costs of the undeclared wars. Give any tenant, not just any homeowner, the right to ask for a single-payer government-funded upgrade using solar panels and insulation (including windows) and efficient refrigerators and solar water heaters. Germany and Denmark are far ahead of the U.S., but partially through gas taxes. Choose your gasoline movie fantasies: A LOUISIANA STORY and GIANT, or THERE WILL BE BLOOD and SYRIANA, maybe with a WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? double-feature as an after-party. Don't forget GASLAND for the after-after party. Also, note the book EAARTH, whose author claims that climate change will proceed for sixty years if all burning stops today.

Sep. 13 2010 09:46 AM

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