A federal judge has approved an agreement between PG&E and San Bruno that could reduce the risk of wildfire in the neighborhood devastated in a 2010 pipeline explosion while allowing the company to fulfill part of the criminal sentence imposed after the blast.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup said in a court hearing Tuesday he will allow San Bruno to go ahead with the deal, under which PG&E will pay $3 million for a wildfire mitigation project in the city's Crestmoor Canyon.
In approving the project, Alsup imposed one major condition: To make sure that PG&E's $3 million is spent on the wildfire project, his court or some other agency will be put in charge of disbursing funds for the work.
The project includes plans for creating a 100-foot firebreak between the canyon's dense, eucalyptus-dominated vegetation and surrounding residences. It also calls for repairing a road into the canyon to improve firefighter access and installing a water system to aid in extinguishing future fires.
The 77-acre canyon is adjacent to the neighborhood where a PG&E gas transmission line ruptured and detonated on Sept. 9, 2010, killing eight people, injuring dozens and destroying 38 homes. The disaster led to the company's 2016 conviction on criminal charges of violating federal pipeline safety laws and obstructing a National Transportation Safety Board investigation.