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Senators urge inspection of California pipelines

PG&E also under orders to inspect its share of 12,000 miles of state-regulated lines

California's senators urged a federal agency Monday to immediately order inspections of interstate natural gas pipelines -- like the one that ruptured Thursday night (Sept. 9) in San Bruno -- with a priority on those near residential areas.

Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein pointed out that the California Public Utilities Commission's order for PG&E to begin inspecting its share of the nearly 12,000 miles of state-regulated intrastate pipelines is not enough.

The senators are demanding thorough inspections of the 1,508 miles of interstate natural gas transmission pipelines that are regulated by the federal government, according to a joint statement issued by Boxer and Feinstein.

To make sure the pipelines are being properly maintained, the two senators asked the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to produce a list of cities and counties in the state where pipes are located, dates of installation and upgrades of pipelines, and a schedule of past and future inspections.

Boxer, who toured the damaged areas in San Bruno over the weekend, also penned a letter to utilities commission President Michael Peevey expressing her support for its decision to order PG&E to immediately inspect its natural gas pipelines, beginning with those closest to residential areas.

"Californians must feel confident that their communities are safe and that the regulatory agencies responsible for maintaining natural gas pipelines are doing everything possible to guarantee their safety," Boxer wrote in the letter.

"It is critical that the public's confidence is restored and that utilities are held accountable for the safety of their pipelines," Boxer wrote.

— Bay City News Service

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