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Schwarzenegger Discusses San Bruno Tragedy

Governor Schwarzenegger was Tuesday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”. Here are his words:

“Hello, this is Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with another California Report.

This week I want to update you on the tragedy in San Bruno.

Last week, after I came back from Asia, I visited the explosion site.

I got a detailed briefing and spoke with members of the community.

They, along with all Californians, have many questions – the biggest question being: “How could this possibly have happened?” Also, “are there any other homes in danger right now?”

These are questions that federal, state and local agencies, as well as PG&E, are actively investigating.

I am pleased that earlier this week we began to get some answers.

Because as I have said, transparency is the most important thing.

People have a right to know, especially those living there, if they are in a vulnerable area.

PG&E publicly released a list of its 100 most vulnerable pipelines.

It released a map of its pipelines.

And it created a hotline that people can call and find out if they live near a pipeline.

That hotline number is 888-743-7431.

These are some of the immediate actions that have been taken.

Yet we also have a responsibility to take a step back, conduct a comprehensive review of this explosion, pinpoint exactly what went wrong, and what could have been done differently.

A few days ago, we established an independent panel of experts to do exactly that.

Now let me tell you, I am always suspicious of panels and blue ribbon commissions and those kind of things.

I feel like they want to drag it out, and they don’t want to really come up with answers, and they don’t want us to know, and all those things.

But in this case, we really need a panel because I cannot rely on just PG&E or the PUC or any of those entities.

I want to have experts drill in there and recommend systemic reforms to improve the oversight and safety of our gas pipelines.

I promise we will leave no stone unturned and do everything we can to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again.

Let’s not forget that the real problem here is aging infrastructure. That is what drives me crazy here, because it’s another sign that we are not doing the upkeep that we need to do.

Some pipelines in California are more than 50 years old.

Sewage lines are 100 years old.

They were built for a population a quarter of the size we are now.

Across the nation, more than 60 percent of gas pipelines are 40 years old or older.

Some people say investing in infrastructure is just too expensive.

But let me tell you something. Whether it’s gas lines bursting, bridges collapsing, water pipes breaking, or levees crumbling, we see over and over that the cost of inaction, in lives and in dollars, is far greater than the cost of action.

California has approved $60 billion of infrastructure over the last seven years.

That is terrific, but much more needs to be done.

And that is why I will continue pushing the locals, the state and the federal government to step up, pay more attention to infrastructure and contribute their fair share.

For the health of our economy, for the safety of our citizens, and for the sake
of our future, we must do more.

And I am talking about much more.

Thank you for watching, and for listening.”

The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard each weeday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:47, 7:47 and 8:47am.

Written by mark@mlode.com