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October 2, 2023

Letter to the editor: For safety’s sake, eliminate gas lines

Re: Safety First, Free Lance 9/2/22

Everyone wants to be safe. Yes, of course, safety first, especially now in this heat wave inside this drought. It seems that we have never been less safe. 

So how can we be safe? According to PG&E, we can check gas lines for leaks. I am wondering if PG&E plans to dig many lines for a physical assessment. Further reading explained that this procedure was meant to practice procedures in case of a gas leak. It had nothing to do with testing and examining lines for age, leaks or corrosion.  

Further clarification explained that digging especially by construction work can break gas lines. Still this drill was not for PG&E to practice their plan and execution of action for a gas line break but rather it was for our county responders to practice theirs.

This drill practiced an emergency community response including three firefighting stations: Hollister, CalFire and Aromas, plus CalStar, local sheriffs and police and dispatch services besides one lone PG&E truck. I expected to read of a PG&E crew testing lines and connections for any corrosion and weakness because leaking gas lines can cause explosions and fires.  That did not happen. What happened was a drill of our already seasoned and practiced county professionals. Am I safer?  It seems PG&E wants me to feel safer.

What would really make me feel safe is to be back to normal temperatures and rainfall.  However, a normal may be unknown in a climate change scenario. Rather than cosmetic safety drills repairing broken gas lines, it seems much safer to no longer use gas lines at all.  

True safety would be an energy source free from gas lines. Like not seeing the forest because of the trees abundant energy surrounds us. Wind, sun and plenty of ocean not requiring gas lines or delivery under pressure can give us all the energy we need. 

Now that development would be true “Safety First.”   

Mary Zanger 


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