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July 30, 2014
05:35 EDTPCGPG&E announces new indictment regarding San Bruno, says charges not merited
The U.S. Attorney's Office altered its allegations against Pacific Gas and Electric Company, filing a new indictment that will replace an indictment filed in April. According to a news release issued by United States Attorney Melinda Haag, the superseding indictment alleges that PG&E obstructed the NTSB's investigation that began immediately after the San Bruno explosion. Additionally, the superseding indictment charges PG&E with 27 counts of knowingly and willfully violating the Pipeline Safety Act, allegedly stemming from PG&E's record keeping and pipeline integrity management practices. According to the government's news release, PG&E is charged with one count of obstruction of an agency proceeding in violation of 18 U.S.C. section 1505, and 27 separate counts of violations of the PSA. The maximum statutory penalty for each count is a $500,000 fine or a fine based on the twice the gross gain PG&E made as a result of the violations, or twice the losses suffered by the victims. The superseding indictment alleges that PG&E derived gross gains of $281M, and victims suffered losses of approximately $565M. PG&E issued this reaction: "San Bruno was a tragic accident. We've taken accountability and are deeply sorry. We have worked hard to do the right thing for victims, their families and the community, and we will continue to do so. We are absolutely committed to re-earning the trust of all of the people we are fortunate to serve every day. We have not yet seen the superseding indictment. However, based on all of the evidence we have seen to date, we do not believe that the charges are warranted and that, even where mistakes were made, employees were acting in good faith to provide customers with safe and reliable energy. We are confident the legal process will ensure all of the facts are fully reviewed. In the meantime, we want all of our customers to know that we will stay focused on transforming this 100-plus-year-old natural gas system into the safest and most reliable in the country."
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