Pipeline documents sealed

Law prevents access to information on California’s pipelines

Anyone in California alarmed by the possibility of dangerous pipelines running underneath their neighborhood will be unable to access government records about them.

A 60-year-old law backed by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and other utilities blocks the public from accessing documents at the California Public Utilities Commission, according to SFGate.com. In most other states, such documents are readily available, but an investigation following the September 2010 pipeline explosion that killed eight in San Bruno revealed the utilities commission had destroyed documents detailing a 1963 natural-gas explosion that killed a firefighter in San Francisco.

California’s law requires a vote from the utilities commission before such documents are revealed to the public, and records show the commission consults utility companies before reaching a decision.