Last week San Francisco/San Mateo State Sen. Leland Yee and San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane held a press conference to announce that PG&E had “committed” to moving the San Bruno gas pipeline at the heart of a devastating fire in the city.

The “commitment,” however, seemed laden with caveats and conditions, especially when you tried to get a confirmation from PG&E. “We realize nobody wants that pipeline to be rebuilt in the neighborhood,” said a spokesperson. “We will work with federal, state and city leaders to evaluate all available options. It will not be a decision that PG&E makes on its own.”

Today, in a letter sent to Ruane and disseminated by Yee, PG&E President Chris Johns went a step further in affirming its intent to relocate the pipeline. The key passage:

As we discussed during our meeting, PG&E understands that no one wants the damanged section of Line 132 rebuilt at its current location. We know residents in this neighborhood have sufffered a terrible trauma and the pipe is a horrible reminder. On behalf of PG&E, I want to reiterate to you and the residents of your city that you have our commitment that PG&E will not rebuild the damaged section of Line 132 in its current location.

No ifs, ands, or buts about it, apparently. But just in case, KQED’s Joshua Johnson called PG&E, and a spokeman said that the company had indeed agreed last week to move the pipeline, in meetings with Yee and Ruane. Which is what they had said. Sort of. And which PG&E had said. But not really.

Anyway, San Bruno residents affected by the blast are probably relieved. Some have said they won’t return unless the pipeline is moved.

PG&E Confirms San Bruno Pipeline Move 28 October,2010Jon Brooks


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor of KQED’s health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED’s daily news blog, News Fix. A veteran blogger, he previously worked for Yahoo! in various news writing and editing roles. He was also the editor of, which documented user-generated content about the financial crisis and recession. Jon is also a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S. He has written about film for his own blog and studied film at Boston University. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.

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