Monday Briefing

Warnings about ill-fated San Bruno pipeline likely to figure in lawsuits against utility company. More than 300 plaintiffs have brought cases against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. over the 2010 pipeline explosion that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes in a Northern California neighborhood. Those cases, and a state investigation whose details are due to be released this week, could be influenced by advance warnings from the utility’s own employees about the line’s vulnerability, and questions about whether the company actively disregarded them. San Francisco Chronicle

Long-delayed study of underground miners finds that exposure to diesel engine exhaust raises risk of lung cancer. Federal researchers, in two papers, reported finding a threefold increase in the risk for lung cancer overall, and a fivefold increase for miners most heavily exposed to exhaust from diesel-powered equipment. Moreover, among miners who developed lung cancer, those with the highest levels of exposure to diesel exhaust were the most likely to die from the disease. The study of more than 12,000 underground miners, held up since the 1990s by a legal battle pressed by a mining industry group, could influence upcoming reviews of U.S. and international safety regulations covering diesel fumes. Science, The Center for Public Integrity, Los Angeles Times

Two rail traffic controllers detained for questioning in crash that killed 16 in southern Poland. The two controllers were in charge of traffic on the route when the crash occurred Saturday night near Krakow. The collision left the front cars of the trains a mangled heap, toppled others, and injured more than 50 people, three of whom remain in serious condition. The two controllers have not been charged with crimes. Prosecutors and railway traffic experts were inspecting the site as they gathered evidence in their investigation of Poland’s worst train accident in over 20 years. The Associated Press

BP’s $7.8 billion civil settlement leaves other oil spill legal issues unresolved. The deal to compensate thousands of Gulf Coast residents harmed in the Deepwater Horizon disaster ends just one chapter in the legal wrangling over the 2010 disaster. The tentative deal announced late Friday does not address state lawsuits or federal claims under the Clean Water Act and Oil Pollution Act, which could cost BP as much as $21 billion more. And BP could still face criminal charges related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and be barred from receiving federal contracts. ProPublica

Deepwater oil drilling has regained momentum in the Gulf of Mexico and is spreading around the world. After a yearlong drilling moratorium, BP and other oil companies are intensifying their exploration and production in the gulf, which will soon surpass the levels attained before the accident. Drilling in the area is about to be expanded in Mexican and Cuban waters, beyond most American controls, even though any accident would almost inevitably affect the U.S. Oil companies are also moving into new areas off the coast of East Africa and the eastern Mediterranean. The reason for the resumption of such drilling, analysts say, is continuing high demand for energy worldwide. The New York Times

U.S. Navy practice of sinking old warships criticized by environmentalists. A review of records over the past dozen years points out that the Navy has gotten rid of most of its old warships through target practice at sea — a program known as “Sinkex,” for sinking exercise. In that period, 109 warships were disposed of that way. But new evidence suggests that these old warships can taint nearby fish with PCB, a a chemical banned by the U.S. in 1979, in part because it is long-lasting and accumulates throughout the food chain. The problem has led to a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, which has permitted the Navy to continue the practice despite the pollution hazards. The Associated Press

Recalls: 2003-2005 model year Infiniti Q45 cars, 2011-2012 Nissan Quest minivans, Peter Rabbit Deluxe Easter Mix “Gluten Free” candies, Pizza Stix, Kountry Buffet 14% feed

Compiled by Stuart Silverstein

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