Pipeline Safety Checks Part Of Recent San Bruno Explosion Settlement

Forty-four-year old Jacqueline Greig and her 13-year-old daughter Janessa were among the eight people killed after a pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California in 2010. Their surviving family members recently reached a settlement with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), owner of the burst pipeline.

The otherwise confidential settlement included a requirement that PG&E take a safety inventory of its pipelines to identify those that need repair before they become too weak and cause deadly explosions. The utility company agreed to update the Grieg family as progress is made.

If they are not kept updated, the Grieg’s retained the right, under the terms of the settlement, to request an audit of PG&E’s progress toward safety improvements. If PG&E fails to uphold its end of the bargain or if the Greig’s feel that the progress is not in keeping with the spirit of the agreement, they can initiate mediation as to the pipeline safety project.

According to one of the Greig’s attorneys, “”(The family) wanted to make sure something came out of this tragedy…. They want to make sure what happened to their wife and daughter won’t be in vain.”

PG&E is required to complete its safety plan by the end of 2015 or, if the California Public Utilities Commission becomes involved, whatever date is set by the Commission. Federal investigators involved in determining the cause of the explosion noted that PG&E’s recordkeeping standards at the time of the explosion were insufficient. The company did not maintain enough information on its pipelines to get a clear picture of what went wrong in 2010.

The Greig’s are not the only family affected by the San Bruno pipeline explosion. One hundred and ten other individuals have also reached confidential settlements with the utility company. Many more are awaiting their day in court with PG&E; pretrial matters are already underway in San Mateo County.

Source: Contra Costa Times, “San Bruno explosion lawsuit settlement requires new PG&E safety measures, attorney says,” January 8, 2012