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Pipeline Awareness Intensifies with Five New State Laws

Governor Signs Pipeline Safety Bills

This month, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law all of the five natural gas transmission pipeline safety bills passed this year by the Legislature. The new laws place California in the national forefront of pipeline safety awareness. In addition, the laws bring into sharper focus the lessons learned from the deadly gas transmission pipeline explosion one year ago in San Bruno that killed eight people, and destroyed 38 homes and damaged 61 others. The laws protect California's communities by:

  • setting new standards for emergency preparedness and communicating pipeline hazards to emergency responders
  • placing automatic shut-off valves in vulnerable areas on gas pipelines that run under highly populated areas or over earthquake faults, and
  • ensuring that gas companies pressure test transmission lines.

The new laws also require tougher regulatory oversight of gas pipeline operators by the State’s Public Utilities Commission and impose stiffer penalties for pipeline operators that fail to comply with the law.

The five bills signed by the Governor are Assembly Bill 56 and Senate Bills 44, 216, 705 and 879. That just one of the bills faced any opposition in the Legislature is a measure of the broad public interest in pipeline hazards and support for pipeline safety in California.

In August 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board unanimously agreed that the San Bruno accident was caused by a "litany of failures" by the pipeline's owner, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E), as well as weak oversight by regulators.

PG&E Notification May Create Actual Knowledge Liability for Sellers

Responding to the public outcry for information about pipeline locations after the San Bruno explosion, PG&E earlier this year notified the owners or occupants of 2.5 million California addresses that they are located within 2000 feet of a PG&E gas transmission pipeline -- which could make this fact material to future Buyers of those properties.

First American NHD is the only natural hazard disclosure company that offers a 2000-foot proximity disclosure of gas transmission pipelines and hazardous liquid pipelines in its residential disclosure report to help protect both the Agent and the Seller from potential non-disclosure. To order a disclosure report for a property, click the ORDER NOW button in the upper right corner of this page.