SAN FRANCISCO – The Latest on the criminal trial of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. on a charge of obstructing officials investigating a deadly gas line explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area (all times local):
An attorney for Pacific Gas & Electric Co. says PG&E employees did the best they could and did not deliberately obstruct federal officials investigating a deadly gas line blast or violate pipeline safety regulations.
Steven Bauer cautioned jurors during his opening statement Friday not to let the 2010 explosion of one of PG&E’s gas lines in the San Francisco Bay Area overwhelm their evaluation of the case. The explosion killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.
Bauer said the trial is not about determining compensation for the blast victims or determining future pipeline regulations.
Prosecutors say PG&E misled federal investigators looking into the blast and knowingly violated pipeline safety regulations.
A prosecutor says Pacific Gas & Electric Co. ignored pipeline safety regulations to cut costs and maximize its profits.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hallie Hoffman said during opening statements in a criminal case against PG&E that the company ignored problems with its records about pipelines and did not subject them to appropriate testing. Instead, Hoffman said PG&E used a cheaper test.
Among the pipelines at issue in the trial is one that exploded in a San Francisco Bay Area neighbourhood in 2010, killing eight people and destroying 38 homes.
Hoffman said PG&E misled federal officials investigating the blast about the standard it was using to identify high-risk pipelines.
Attorneys for the government and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. will begin presenting their cases in a criminal trial alleging the utility giant obstructed investigators after a deadly pipeline explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area.
After several days of jury selection, opening statements are scheduled to start Friday in federal court in San Francisco.
A PG&E natural gas pipeline exploded in the city of San Bruno six years ago in a disaster that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.
During the investigation that followed, prosecutors say the San Francisco-based utility misled federal officials about how it was identifying high-risk pipelines.
PG&E has pleaded not guilty and said its employees did not intentionally violate pipeline safety laws or obstruct an investigation. The company faces a $562 million fine if convicted.