Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Lawsuit: PG&E Brass Ordered Documents Destroyed After San Bruno

Posted By on Wed, Jan 13, 2016 at 1:17 PM

click to enlarge 9253704352_aed7a88303.jpg
Officials with Pacific Gas and Electric Company — whose gas main blew up in San Bruno in September 2010, killing eight people and destroying a neighborhood — ordered documents destroyed after the explosion, according to a claim made in a lawsuit.

As the Chronicle reports, former PG&E official Leslie Banach McNiece was hired after the fatal blast to help PG&E sift through its records.

She claims to have discovered key documents — including a "telltale preblast analysis of the pipe" — in a garbage bin, she told federal prosecutors.

PG&E will stand trial in March in federal court on an obstruction of justice charge and for allegedly violating pipeline safety regulations.

Prosecutors say that PG&E officials knew the pipe and other major gas lines that go under the heavily-populated Bay Area were unsafe, and that the company relied on bad records to tell federal regulators that all was well.

No PG&E officials have been charged in the explosion. Only the company itself is on trial, and risks a $500 million fine.

According to prosecutors. McNiece was hired in April 2012 to sort out PG&E's records — which were in such disarray that the company at one time had to use a parking lot near the Cow Palace to lay out all its paperwork.

McNiece claims to have received "pushback" from PG&E management, as well as "specific instructions" to destory documents. 

In 2013, she discovered a document related to a faulty seam weld — the same weld that gave way in San Bruno — on the same line that later exploded stashed in a dumpster, she claims.

PG&E dismissed the claims as "financially motivated... mischaracterizations."
  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2


Comments are closed.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"