HOLLISTER, Calif. - As part of a settlement with the San Benito County District Attorney’s Office, PG&E agreed to fund moving a private school to a location away from its gas distribution center in Hollister, according to the California District Attorney’s Association.
The case involves accusations that PG&E discharged methane gas into the air while testing its pipeline in February, 2014.
The District Attorney alleged that PG&E didn’t take the appropriate steps to notify neighbors and students at the Hollister Seventh Day Adventist School, then located near the gas distribution facility. The D.A. says as a result, some students fell ill.
The settlement includes an injunction against PG&E that forbids similar violations of law, along with $175,000 in civil penalties. It also requires PG&E come up with a written policy for notifying communities before gas venting activities take place.
PG&E issued the following statement when asked for comment on the civil settlement:
The health and safety of the public is of the upmost importance whenever we conduct these important gas safety procedures. In February 2014 PG&E conducted gas venting procedures at our Hollister facility as part of in-line inspection of gas transmission line 300A. This work is done at regular intervals to understand any changes in the pipeline and to ensure the safety of the public. When conducting this work in 2014 PG&E unexpectedly vented gas in a particular area of the city, causing concerns from the local community. We took the concerns to heart, and proactively responded to those concerns by working on a solution with local community leaders. We look forward to continuing to work closely with San Benito County to ensure the continual health and safety of the local community.