PG&E to Face Jury After Deadly San Bruno Pipeline Explosion

Destruction after fire and explosion in San Bruno. By Brocken Inaglory, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Pacific Gas and Electric Company is scheduled to face a jury in a criminal trial after being accused for obstructing investigations just before the disastrous pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California. Opening statements are set to begin Thursday.

The September 2010 deadly explosion of a natural gas pipeline killed eight people and obliterated 38 homes. Prosecutors claim that after the explosion federal investigators were misled about how PG&E kept records of high-risk pipelines.

The company was indicted in 2014 for violating pipeline safety regulations and failing to identify and assess the San Bruno natural gas line as well as other similar pipelines as high-risk pipelines. Investigators blame the 2010 explosion on poor-record keeping based on incomplete and inaccurate pipeline information.

If PG&E is found guilty during trial, the company will face $562 million in fines. PG&E has pleaded not guilty, saying its employees did not intentionally violate pipeline safety laws or obstruct investigations.

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