noon, May 28
Federal government to audit CPUC over San Bruno handling
San Bruno again calls for firing of CPUC head Peevey
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will audit the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to judge its ability to carry out pipeline safety, according to the City of San Bruno, which has been battling the CPUC. In September of 2010, explosion of a natural gas pipeline owned by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) killed eight people, injured more than 100, and destroyed more than 100 homes. This week, the CPUC proposed a $300 million fine and additional penalties of more than $1.9 billion against the utility. But San Bruno complains of cozy relationships and conflicts of interest between CPUC officials and PG&E. San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane renewed his call for the firing of CPUC President Mike Peevey for activities such as ex parte contacts with PG&E. Said Ruane, "Finally, federal regulators are investigating what we believe to be serious ethical and political conflicts at the CPUC that have rendered this state agency largely unable to perform its duties."