Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Must Reads: PG&E Allowed to Regulate Itself; Steel Rods on Bay Bridge Riddled with Rust and Cracks

By Robert Gammon
Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 9:51 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The California Public Utilities Commission, which is supposed to regulate state utilities, allowed PG&E to investigate its own natural gas lines in the years after the deadly 2010 pipeline blast in San Bruno, the Chron reports, citing recently released emails. One CPUC official told PG&E that it could avoid “a lot of ... red tape” by regulating itself. The emails provide further evidence that the CPUC had little interest performing its watchdog role.

click to enlarge bay_bridge_complete.jpg
2. Steel rods inside the signature tower of the new $6.4 billion Bay Bridge are riddled with rust and tiny cracks because the private contactor that built the span left the rods in rainwater for years, the Chron reports. The rust and cracks were discovered during a recent test by Caltrans on one of the rods. The results raise questions about the longterm viability of the new bridge.


3. State officials are scrambling to obtain information about the contents of railway cars in the wake of last week’s train derailment and massive explosion involving fracked oil in West Virginia, the OC Register reports (via Rough & Tumble). Railway companies only recently were required under state law to inform state officials about the contents and movements of oil tanker trains in California.

4. Dockworkers and shipping companies resolved their long labor dispute at West Coast ports, including the Port of Oakland, thanks to the intervention of the Obama administration, the Chron reports. The two sides reached the settlement after shipping companies agreed to a request from longshore workers to oust a labor arbitrator who repeatedly had ruled against the union.

5. And anti-police-violence demonstrators shut down the Emeryville Home Depot on Saturday in protest of a recent fatal shooting by Emeryville police, the Chron reports.  

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