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June 10, 2011 > Bill to improve gas pipeline safety passes Senate

Bill to improve gas pipeline safety passes Senate

Submitted By the Office of Senator Ellen M. Corbett

Legislation by Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) to improve emergency response to gas pipeline problems and help avoid disasters similar to the September 2010 deadly gas explosion in San Bruno passed the Senate on June 1 on a 38-0 vote.

Senate Bill 44 directs the California Public Utilities Commission, in consultation with the Office of Emergency Services and the California Fire Chief Association, to adopt stricter emergency response standards for natural gas operators. By improving communication and coordination, the bill helps minimize loss of life and damage to property caused by gas pipeline emergencies.

"The San Bruno explosion illustrated just how dangerous gas pipelines can be," said Corbett who is Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Earthquake and Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery. "It's essential California's first responders have the coordination and planning they need to react quickly and effectively if and when something goes wrong with a gas pipeline. SB 44 does that by raising first response standards for natural gas operators."

Many of the East Bay's gas pipelines run along the Hayward fault and are vulnerable to rupture in an earthquake.

Among other things, SB 44 mandates that natural gas operators utilize emergency shutdown and pressure reduction whenever necessary; maintain contact with fire, police and other relevant officials; provide maps of pipeline locations to fire officials.

The bill now moves to the Assembly for consideration.

For more information, visit Senator Corbett's web site at www.sen.ca.gov/corbett

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