"California Urges Record $2.5 Billion Fine for Natural Gas Blast"

"Pacific Gas and Electric Co. could face a record fine for a deadly 2010 natural gas pipeline explosion in a San Francisco suburb. Officials hope it will help prevent future accidents while some warn that rising natural gas demand is outpacing investment in energy infrastructure."

"One of the country's largest utility companies could face a record $2.5 billion fine for its role in a 2010 natural gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people, injured 66, and destroyed 38 houses. If adopted, it would be the largest penalty ever levied by a state regulatory body in the US.

"There is no amount of money that will bring back the eight people who tragically lost their lives in the pipeline blast or heal the lasting wounds to the people of San Bruno," Jack Hagan, director of the California Public Utilities Commission's Safety and Enforcement Division, said in a statement prepared for the release of the Commission's report Monday. "All we can do is make sure such a tragedy does not happen again."

How effective such a fine would be in preventing another explosion is another question. Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the target of the proposed penalty, says they've already made significant improvements in operational safety and any additional financial burden would have the opposite effect."

David J. Unger reports for the Christian Science Monitor May 7, 2013.

SEE ALSO:

"20 Dead, 33 Injured in Gas Tanker Explosion in Mexico City Suburb; Death Toll Could Rise" (AP)

"Boom!" (Santa Fe Reporter)

"Enbridge Ordered To Fix Emergency Shutdown Systems By 2016" (Beacon News)

Source: Christian Science Monitor, 05/08/2013