Mountain View Voice

Opinion - November 18, 2011

Good reasons to move both gas lines

PG&E should step up and agree to move both gas lines that are buried just 2 feet beneath the Crittenden Middle School soccer field.

But during a Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting last week, where the utility company was requesting an easement over a corner of a parking lot, PG&E representatives said they had no plans or budget to move the second of two lines — line 132 — as the board and Superintendent Craig Goldman are requesting. Line 132 is the infamous line that exploded and killed eight people in San Bruno last year. Recent tests have found leaks in other segments of the line near Woodside and on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park. PG&E officials said the piece under the Crittenden soccer field apparently passed tests at 1.5 times normal gas pressure.

Nevertheless, we believe it is prudent for PG&E to move both gas lines at Crittenden. Both could be added to a trench along Middlefield Road adjacent to the school at the same time, which should keep costs to a minimum. By doing so the utility would help restore its tarnished reputation and give considerably more piece of mind to school parents.

Superintendent Goldman said there is another reason he would like to see both lines moved. In the near future, Goldman said the district intends to install artificial turf on the Crittenden fields, which could require extra caution if there were a live gas line just 2 feet below the earth-moving machines that will prepare the site for new turf.

The school district likely will consider the easement request at a meeting next month, although even if it refuses to grant PG&E the requested easement, the utility said it will find another route. We urge PG&E to listen to school officials and move both gas lines to the Middlefield Road route.

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