Plan to replace natural gas line worries some residents

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FALLBROOK, Calif. – Some San Diegans are concerned over a proposal to replace a 47-mile natural gas pipeline across the county.

The new pipeline would connect SDG&E’s Rainbow metering station near the Riverside County line to existing lines at Marine Corp Air Station Miramar.

The existing pipeline was installed in 1949. Although that pipeline has been pressure tested and deemed safe, it only carries about 10 percent of San Diego’s natural gas. A different line to the west carries the other 90 percent.

The new line would share the load and allow for more natural gas.

But residents have safety concerns following the 2010 gas explosion in a residential area in Northern California that killed nine people.

“The legislature acted very quickly and passed a law in 2011- the California Pipeline Safety Act. That law tells utilities in California to look at their existing transmission systems and enhance the safety of those systems SDG&E submitted our plan back in 2011,” SDG&E spokeswoman Jennifer Ramp said.

The proposed pipeline is part of SDG&E’s plan.

At a meeting Wednesday, the Public Utilities Commission had an opportunity to offer alternative plans or routes, including one that takes the pipeline through Santee. That proposal was worrisome to some residents and city officials who said the impact on traffic would be a big problem.

“I’m also concerned about the possibility of the pipeline going through the Gooden Ranch and Mission Trails Regional Park because there are so many people who use those open spaces,” Santee City Councilman Stephen Houlahan said.

Right now, all the plans are under a multi-year review.

SDG&E hopes their plan will be approved by 2019 and construction would start in 2020.