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State Senate Passes Yee Bill Requiring Automatic Shutoff Valves

The legislation would require automatic or remote-controlled shutoff valves to be installed on all pipelines that cross an active earthquake fault or are located in a densely populated area.

The state Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a bill state Sen. Leland Yee proposed to on their pipelines. 

Yee, D-San Francisco, introduced the bill, SB 216, following the Sept. 9 explosion in the Crestmoor neighborhood when it was learned that Line 132, the gas transmission line that ruptured, was only equipped with manual shutoff valves. It took nearly an hour and a half for PG&E crews to get to the valves and manually disable them. 

If the bill were signed into law, it would mean that all pipelines that cross an active earthquake fault or are located in a densely populated area would need to have the automatic or remote-controlled shutoff valves installed. 

SB 216 will now be considered by the state Assembly, a Yee aide said.

Assemblyman Jerry Hill's pipeline safety reform bill also cleared through the state Assembly and is headed to the state Senate.

His bill, AB 56, would strengthen pipeline safety rules and force utilities and regulators to be more accountable.

Among the changes the legislation seeks would be to require the California Public Utilities Commission to track repairs on pipelines after utilities propose rate increases. If the money is diverted to a different project, according to the bill, the utility would be required to make a public filing justifying the change.

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