SAN MATEO, CA - Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) today sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown stating her opposition to the self-appointment of California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey to head the penalty phase of the San Bruno natural gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people.  Speier urged the Governor to appoint Commissioner Mike Florio instead.

The following is the text of the letter:

January 27, 2012

The Honorable Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
Governor, State Of California
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Brown:

I must strongly oppose the self-appointment of CPUC President Michael Peevey to head the agency’s investigation of whether or not PG&E should be fined for the San Bruno natural gas pipeline explosion that killed eight of my constituents. I base my objection on the National Transportation Safety Board findings that the CPUC, under Mr. Peevey’s presidency, was, in part, to blame for the litany of errors that led to the pipeline rupture.

Conversely, CPUC Commissioner Mike Florio, who was not a member of the CPUC during the years leading up to the explosion, has distinguished himself as the lead commissioner at public hearings on the PG&E pipeline failure,. In fact, he led the agency’s efforts to draft rules and to request state legislation that, combined, will help ensure that another San Bruno tragedy does not occur again and that the CPUC will be diligent in its policing of natural gas operators in California.

Mr. Florio is the right choice for the job--he will not be criticized for having a conflict of interest or historical cozy relationship with PG&E. I respectfully request that you intercede in this matter by replacing Mr. Peevey with Mr. Florio. 

While I realize the full commission will vote on the final penalties to be assessed, I believe it is prudent to remove from the process an individual who was a key decision-maker during the time that CPUC failed to conduct proper oversight of PG&E.

All the best,

Jackie Speier
Member of Congress