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Councilmember Sawant Calls on State to Investigate For-Profit Gas Company, Assess Risk for Future Fires and Explosions in Wake of Near Disaster in Central District

‘The gas fire shows yet again the risks and damage that for-profit energy companies unilaterally impose on our communities, and the risks of continued reliance on climate-harming fossil fuels’

In the wake of last Wednesday’s near-disastrous underground gas fire in the Central District, Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle), today called on the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) to undertake an immediate, full, and comprehensive investigation into the region-wide risks of future leaks, fires, and explosions involving Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE) gas pipelines.

While the state UTC normally would probe Wednesday’s accident, Sawant wrote that the investigation needs to be much broader in scope, to include a comprehensive review of PSE’s entire gas piping and infrastructure system and an evaluation of the risks of future leaks, fires, and explosions.

“The gas fire shows yet again the risks and damage that for-profit energy companies unilaterally impose on our communities, and the risks of continued reliance on climate-harming fossil fuels,” Sawant wrote to the UTC. “Seattle’s working people and community members have a right to be protected from dangerous incidents like the Greenwood explosion and now the Central District fire, and it is your responsibility, as representatives of the people of Washington, to swiftly act.”

Sawant also praised “the union workers at the Seattle Fire Department (Firefighters Local 27) and PSE (Electrical Workers Local 77), who put themselves in harm’s way when they responded to this dangerous situation, stopping the leaking gas and extinguishing the fire.”

Councilmember Sawant’s full letter to the UTC is here.

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