Monday, September 20, 2010


I believe that the recent gas pipeline explosion and subsequent fire, loss of life and homes in San Bruno, CA was widely reported.  what may not have been reported in the national press is the fact that PG&E, the utility company which owns the pipeline knew that that pipeline which ran through a residential neighborhood was in their "top 100 highest risk line sections."  The utility company had planned to repair by 2013 a 7,481-foot long section of pipe - among the top 7% most dangerous pipelines in the nation, according to the AP.

You might ask why would they delay that repair until 2013?  PG&E had other priorities, which included spending $46 million in a failed effort to limit local democracy  and protect their monopoly with Proposition 16 (which was on the June ballot.) 

We keep hearing from the right that the private sector can do things better than the government, and so we should turn over things currently handled by government to the private sector.  That $46 million would have bought a lot of new pipeline and jobs for those who would install it. This is typical of  corporations where using their wealth to attract more investors and fend off competition and regulation is preferable to being responsible to those they serve.

Oh, and the local angle?  One of the longest and worst pipelines on the PG&E list of overdue repair and replacements?  Runs nearby our home and then for about 8 miles through the grass and oak tree studded hills not too far away.

I have a couple of fire extinguishers - not sure that would do it, though.


hokgardner said...

Yup, and the gas companies should be free of federal regulation and inspections, except for when their platforms explode in the Gulf. And the feds should keep their hands off the farmers and agricultural industry, except for when there's a salmonella outbreak and people die.

The governor of Texas is rejecting federal money for education because his campaign platform is anti-feds, except when it comes to the border. He's in a snit because Homeland Security won't give him more money for border guards.

The hypocrisy is astounding.

Tricia said...

The purpose of a corporation is to make money for its stock holders Period. Human lives, suffering, environmental issues do not register on the balance sheets. I think too many people have a pollyanna view that corporations will do the 'right' thing. They do not realize that a corporation by its existance is only about making money. If you are a shareholder that is a good thing, if you are an employee or member of the community, good luck.

michiganme said...

A million gallons of oil spilled into the Kalamazoo River (near where I live) when an underground pipeline run by Enbridge Energy of Canada ruptured. This river empties into Lake Michigan less than 100 miles downstream.

A government agency reported that hundreds of anomolies were found in this pipeline in June and repairs were mandated. Enbridge responded by asking for a time extension to verify that a problem really existed. In the meantime the corroded pipe broke.


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

How scary for you.

Are you suggesting that unfettered and unregulated capitalism is problematic? You must be a commie.