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article imageCalifornia utility faces new criminal charges from 2010 explosion

By Nathan Salant     Jun 4, 2014 in Environment
San Bruno - A California utility company indicted over a 2010 pipeline explosion that killed eight and destroyed dozens of homes in the city of San Bruno is facing even more charges.
Federal prosectors told Pacific Gas & Electric Co. on Monday that more charges will be added to the pending 12-count indictment that charges the utility with violating federal pipeline safety laws.
PG&E pleaded not guilty to the April indictment that charged it with violating the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act by failing to keep accurate records of the condition of a pipeline beneath the city of 42,000, directly south of San Francisco.
Regulators blame the poorly maintained line for the 2010 explosion that destroyed 38 homes and damaged 70 more, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
No individual PG&E executives were charged in the original indictment, nor is it expected that any will be named in the revised indictment.
The new charges came to light this week in a PG&E regulatory filing in which the company said federal prosecutors told it Monday that a new "superseding indictment" would be filed.
But PG&E did not reveal what changes were coming, and the U.S. attorney's office in San Francisco was not available for comment, the newspaper said.
PG&E maintains its conduct did not warrant criminal charges but has paid billions of dollars to upgrade its pipeline system in the wake of the explosion, the newspaper said.
If convicted of criminal charges, PG&E faces millions of dollars in fines and could be subject to court-ordered monitoring.
San Bruno City Manager Connie Jackson told the newspaper that she supported any efforts to hold PG&E "fully accountable" for the explosion.
"We are obviously interested, and we will be watching closely what the prosecution team brings forward," Jackson said.
More about San bruno, California, Explosion, 2010, Fatalities
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