by Eric Wuestewald
On Tuesday, fifty fisherman and a single Marina property owner filed a formal complaint against PG&E claiming their former refineries had poured some truly nasty stuff into the Bay over the last century.
The complaint alleges the utility giant and occasional exploder of cul de sacs dumped toxic chemicals from a handful of gas plants 100 years ago, affecting a massive 50 acres of residential and tourist areas and harming local herring populations near the Marina and Fisherman's Wharf. And, the suit claims, the damage is ongoing and requires a concerted cleanup.
As reported by the Examiner, Stuart Gross, the plaintiff's attorney, claims the chemicals, known as poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, can drastically affect local marine life. "Testing after the 2007 Cosco Busan [oil spill] established conclusively that exposure to even small amounts of poly-aromatic hydrocarbons virtually ensures that the fertilized herring egg or larvae will die."
In an interview with KPIX 5, Gross adds that PG&E has known about the problem "since the 70s. They've been doing piecemeal [cleanup] and avoiding some major questions."
PG&E says they've been working on the issue and communicating with residents, with spokesperson Nicole Liebelt claiming the successful investigation of 23 and remediation of six Marina properties.
It's worth noting that the lawsuit doesn't ask for any financial compensation, merely a full investigation and cleanup.
And of course, PG&E remains embroiled in a $1 billion federal lawsuit relating to the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion, and they're facing another $1.4 billion in fines from the Public Utilities Commission over that as well.