The Skyline View

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PG&E, San Bruno agree to settlement

Flowers adorn the chain-link fence around a home that was destroyed by the PG&E pipeline explosion on Sept. 9, 2010. (Will Nacouzi)

Flowers adorn the chain-link fence around a home that was destroyed by the PG&E pipeline explosion on Sept. 9, 2010. (Will Nacouzi)

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The City of San Bruno agreed to accept a $70 million settlement from PG&E in restitution for the suffering caused by a natural gas pipeline explosion back in September 2010.

According to a joint news release issued by PG&E and the City of San Bruno, the $70 million settlement will be controlled by a city-created “public purpose entity,” which is to determine how the funds can best be used to restore the devastated San Bruno neighborhood and the city as a whole.

“I am pleased to announce that San Bruno has reached a settlement with PG&E for restitution for the community of San Bruno,” said San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane in the press release. “This money will be used for the benefit of all the citizens of our city and to help us, as a community, get beyond the tragedy and devastation caused by PG&E’s explosion and fire”

PG&E’s spokespeople say that the $70 million settlement is being offered in addition to the company’s pledge to pay for any needed repairs to the city’s infrastructure; funds that are needed as a direct result of the pipeline explosion.


“The community of San Bruno has suffered through a terrible tragedy and we understand that this accident will affect this community forever,” said PG&E President Chris Johns. “We committed the night of the tragedy and continue to commit that we will help the victims and the community heal and rebuild.”

Ruane made it clear that he was glad to reach a financial settlement with PG&E in order to help the city’s healing process, but he urged the people of San Bruno and the utility giant not to lose sight of the importance of the tragedy, nor the lessons that can be taken from it.

“The lasting legacy of Sept. 9, 2010 is San Bruno’s dedication
to ensure this type of disaster is never allowed to happen again,” Ruane said. “PG&E and all utilities must uphold the highest safety standards for the safety of all.”

Despite PG&E’s and Ruane’s positive outlook, some San Bruno residents who suffered as a direct result of the explosion were not so easily placated by PG&E’s monetary compensation.

San Bruno resident and ASSC Senator Dean Santos takes no consolation from the recent settlement.

“Seventy million dollars? I’m impartial to it. It’s not going to change anything. It’s not going to turn back time,” Santos said.

Santos said that the pipe exploded right outside the house of his friend Joseph Ruigomez, who was seriously injured in the blast. Ruigomez’s girlfriend Jessica Morales was killed in the explosion.

“I don’t think monetary restitution would change anything,” Santos said. “If PG&E actually spent that money on checking the pipes, they could have prevented the loss of lives in that tragedy. It’s not going to bring back Jessica.”

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The student news site of Skyline College.
PG&E, San Bruno agree to settlement