September 15th, 2010
09:34 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Documents show PG&E knew about pipeline problem

Cate Vojdik
AC360° Writer

Tonight, a breath-taking turn in the story that reduced a California neighborhood to ashes.

The images of the natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno were horrific. The walls of flame looked like something from a disaster movie. And now, there’s evidence to suggest it might have been preventable. Documents have surfaced showing P-G-and-E, the local utility that operated the pipeline, knew about a problem with the pipe in another section three years ago and got permission to spend millions of dollars from ratepayers to do repairs. Those repairs were supposed to be done in 2009 but weren’t – even though ratepayers had begun paying for the project. Tonight, Dan Simon is keeping them honest. He’ll have the latest on this new development. We’ll also hear from the head of the utility watchdog group that uncovered the documents.

Another surprise has come to light in Pennsylvania, where residents are learning that their state Homeland Security Department has been spying on them, paying a private security contractor to monitor peaceful protests and gatherings – including a gay pride festival, a candle-light vigil against the oil company BP, and protests against natural gas drilling. The contractor has been compiling a list of potentially threatening groups and people. Gov. Ed Rendell says he wasn’t aware of the spying and is appalled by it. What’s more, the contract cost the state $125,000. You might think some heads would be rolling over at the state’s Homeland Security Department. Nope. Gov. Rendell joins Anderson tonight.

We’ll also take a close look at last night’s primary upsets by Tea Party candidates. Today, the Republican Party leadership is embracing Christine O’Donnell, who won the Senate GOP nomination in Delaware. They did everything in their power to discredit her going into yesterday’s race. Politico called the party's about-face quote "a vivid illustration that the base is in charge and has the leadership running scared." Is that true? The best political team on television weighs in on that tonight. Anderson will also talk with Ron Paul and Eliot Spitzer.

See you at 10 p.m. eastern.

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