As a member of the Antioch Unified School District Board of Education, I recognize that our primary goal as a board is to ensure the safety of all Antioch students. Our capacity to do that relies heavily on the partnerships within and outside the school system. PG&E has continuously provided support to our school by safely operating the Gateway Generating Station, rebuilding the Antioch City Park after a senseless act of arson, and supporting the development of the Antioch Community Center so that we can provide educational opportunities for our city’s youth through specialty programs focusing on the environment and sustainability.
Because of our successful partnership, the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion deeply saddened our board and the entire Antioch community. We were concerned about what this type of explosion may signal about the safety of our local infrastructure. It also left many parents wondering if an outdated pipeline existed near or around their child’s school.
Since then, I am happy to see the significant progress PG&E has made in rebuilding the trust of our parents and community members. After the disaster, PG&E has made critical leadership changes, paid over $70 million in restitution to victims, and, most important, has invested over $2.2 billion in pipeline and infrastructure safety upgrades.
Now that three years have passed since the tragedy, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) staff has recommended a fine so severe it ranks as one of the largest penalties on record, estimated at more than $4 billion including the $2.2 billion PG&E had previously made in pipeline safety upgrades. A large portion of the additional $2.5 billion fine, $300 million, will be directed to the state’s general fund; instead of the safety and infrastructure upgrades that so many of our communities desperately need.
I urge CPUC to focus its attention on safety and infrastructure upgrades and not the political needs of Sacramento. This is one opportunity where we can stand up and demonstrate to parents and families that their children’s safety matter to all of us.
President, Antioch Unified School Board of Education