Bills respond to deadly natural gas explosion


Utility companies would have to install automatic or remotely controlled shut-off valves on natural gas pipelines under a bill approved by the state Senate.

The bill responds to the deadly September gas explosion in the San Francisco Bay area city of San Bruno.

The Pacific Gas & Electric Co. pipeline had only a manual shut-off valve. SB216 by Democratic Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco would require new shut-off valves on pipelines that cross an active earthquake fault or populated area.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously Thursday and goes to the Assembly.

On Wednesday, the Senate passed a related bill by Sen. Ellen Corbett, a Democrat from San Leandro. Her SB44 requires the California Public Utilities Commission to set stricter emergency response standards for natural gas operators.

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