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Riskiest Gas Lines in the Bay Area Are in the East Bay

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A regulatory filing from last year indicates high-risk gas lines run through Fremont, Livermore and Sunol.

The documents were unearthed this week by the California Public Utilities Commission. The filings do not explain why the lines are considered high-risk, or how old the lines are, according to a report by the Bay Area News Group.

The risk was reportedly based on the lines likelihood of failing, and the aftermath if they did.

At the time, PG&E told the state it would cost more than $48 million to replace both high-risk sections.

Those lines will be inspected alongside all the utility's lines within the next month as part of an order from the state utility commission earlier this week.

Another set of workpapers submitted to CPUC by PG&E in 2007 indicate that the cost of repairs for a section of natural gas pipeline within miles of the San Bruno explosion were included in rates as of 2009, although the work has not yet been done, according to an advocacy group the Utility Reform Network.

Some lawmakers are now calling for natural gas shutoff valves in the wake of the San Bruno fire.

State Senator Leland Yee of San Francisco says it's time for utilities like PG&E to install valves on all major gas pipelines, like the one that blew up last week. Yee says that system would have helped firefighters tackle the blaze that followed the pipeline blast.
"It took at least an hour and a half to shut off the gas running into that particular pipe. Had there been an automatic shutoff valve, then the fire would not have consumed so many homes or killed so many individuals," Yee said.

San Mateo County Assemblymember Jerry Hill and Congresswoman Jackie Speier, also support legislation to require pipeline shutoff systems.

Meanwhile, federal investigators say they've received almost 90 reports from residents, including one who claimed to smell gas a few weeks before Thursday's explosion.

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