The California Legislature's ongoing public battle with the state agency that regulates oil and gas pipelines continued to escalate this week, with one senator asking CPUC President Michael Peevey to "justify your continued appointment" in front of a Senate subcommittee next week.
The request came one day after another budget subcommittee held a public hearing on a report detailing a perception among employees that the California Public Utilities Commission does not prioritize safety and is too cozy with the utility companies it regulates.
The letter, sent Thursday by Democratic state Sen. Jerry Hill, also notes other reports raising concerns about the agency's commitment to safety conducted in the wake of the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion.
"For all of the shortcomings under your leadership at the CPUC over the last ten years as documented by independent reports, it's critical that you testify before the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee hearing next week to justify your continued appointment as president of the California Public Utilities Commission," Hill, who represents San Bruno and is a vocal critic of CPUC leadership, wrote in the letter.
A CPUC spokesperson has not responded to The Bee's inquiry about whether Peevey plans to attend the April 25 hearing.
Peevey, who is married to Democratic state Sen. Carol Liu of La Cañada Flintridge, was first appointed to the commission by then-Gov. Gray Davis in 2002. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him to another six-year term in 2008.
Gov. Jerry Brown's office released the following statement via email in response to a request for comment from The Bee: "Commissioner Peevey's term is up on January 1, 2015. If something changes before then, we'll let you know."
PHOTO CREDIT: Michael Peevey of the California Public Utilities Commission waits to speak to Senate Rules Committee members as they consider his confirmation in December 2009 as his wife, state Sen. Carol Liu, sits behind him. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee file, 2009