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Utility companies in California would have to install automatic or remotely controlled shut-off valves on natural gas pipelines under a bill approved by the state Senate.

This bill comes in response to the deadly September gas explosion in the San Francisco Bay area city of San Bruno.

The Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) pipeline had only a manual shut-off valve. The bill, proposed by Democratic Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco, would require new shut-off valves on pipelines that cross an active earthquake fault or populated area.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously Thursday and now goes to the Assembly.

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In other pipeline-related legislation, the Senate passed a bill by Sen. Ellen Corbett, a Democrat from San Leandro, requiring the California Public Utilities Commission to set stricter emergency response standards for natural gas operators.

These bills are responding to the September 9 explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people and destroyed dozens of homes.

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