Pipeline Safety

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - 8:53am

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on pipeline safety following the deadly natural gas explosion in San Bruno, Ca

An eighth victim has died as a result of a natural gas explosion earlier this month in San Bruno, California.

The news of this fatality came as Congress was hearing testimony on the explosion as it considers legislation to beef up the pipeline safety.

The fire, fueled by a ruptured natural gas line that ran beneath the neighborhood.

When it was over eight people were dead, dozens injured and thirty seven homes destroyed.

"I saw homes and cars totally incinerated. it was like a bomb had struck," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) California.

At the hearing on Capitol Hill, Congress heard testimony on pipeline safety.

The Nation's aging gas pipelines, many of which were buried long before neighborhoods were built on top of them.

"What was a thirty inch pipeline doing so close to homes laid down in the 40's when this was not a developed area. Look at where these pipelines are and how close they come to our people," said Barbara Boxer (D) California.

Now Congress is looking at Legislative proposals that would beef up safety to include more inspectors to search for types of corrosion.

Consumer advocates are also calling for the use of automatic shutoff valves.

The explosion took nearly an hour and a half for the crews to manually shut off the gas to the line.

"Unacceptable that only way to stop fire spewing in population is to drive and have someone with a key shut it off," said Rick Kessler of Pipeline Safety Trust.

The gas company, Pacific Gas And Electric says it does annual inspections on transmission lines and is pledging to work with Federal Regulators to make sure the accident never happens again.

Federal Investigators are looking at whether an equipment failure is to blame.

PG&E crews were working on a power supply system thirty miles from the blast site just before the explosion.

Investigators say that it is possible the system failure could of affected the companies ability to monitor and regulate pressure in the pipeline.

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