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Automatic Shutoff Valves Would Be Required in Yee's Bill

PG&E's Line 132, the pipeline that exploded in the Crestmoor neighborhood on Sept. 9, was only equipped with manual shutoff valves, which were OK under federal regulations.

State Sen. Leland Yee introduced a bill today that would require PG&E and other utilities to install automatic or remotely controlled shutoff valves on pipelines throughout the state.

The bill comes after the Sept. 9 gas explosion and fire in the Crestmoor neighborhood, which left eight people dead and 38 homes destroyed, and it is the latest pipeline safety bill to be introduced by a California legislator.

Under SB 216, utilities would be required to install automatic or remotely controlled valves on all pipelines that cross an active earthquake fault or are located within a highly populated area. The bill would require that the shutoff valves be installed every 2.5 miles in the highest density areas, every four miles in medium density areas (, the pipeline that exploded in Crestmoor, was in a medium density area, known as Class 3), every 7.5 miles in low density areas and every 10 miles in extremely low density areas.

Currently, federal regulation only requires manual shutoff valves, the same valves with which Line 132 was equipped when it exploded.

“While we do not yet have all the answers regarding the tragedy in San Bruno, there are certainly lessons already learned, including the need for automatic or remote shutoff capability throughout the gas pipeline system,” Yee said in a news release.  “If SB 216 had been in place last year, the devastation in San Bruno would have been limited and lives could have been saved.”

Congresswoman Jackie Speier also this year that would require gas companies to comply with new minimum standards for installing automatic shut-off valves on all pipelines.

Assemblyman and Sens. have also introduced pipeline safety legislation.

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