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PIPELINE EXPLOSION

PG&E penalized $1.4B for deadly pipeline blast

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - California regulatory judges have recommended a $1.4 billion penalty against the state's largest utility for a 2010 gas pipeline explosion that engulfed a suburban San Francisco neighborhood in fire, killing eight people and prompting national alerts about aging pipelines.

The California Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday announced the figure reached by two administrative law judges against Pacific Gas & Electric Co., saying it would be the largest safety-related penalty it had ever imposed.

PG&E can appeal the fine.

The recommended penalty requires approval by members of the state utility board. PG&E and other parties in the case have 30 days to lodge an appeal.

The commission previously ordered PG&E to pay $635 million for pipeline modernization after the Sept. 9, 2010, blast in the suburban San Francisco community of San Bruno.

MISSING SWIMMER

Rescuers search for missing swimmer in California

POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE, Calif. (AP) - Rescue crews are searching for a man who went missing while swimming in an estuary at a national seashore on the Northern California coast.

National Park Service spokesman John Dell'Osso says dive teams and water rescue specialists from Marin County as well as helicopters from the California Highway Patrol were assisting in the search effort Tuesday in Drakes Estero in the Point Reyes National Seashore.

The man vanished while trying to cross the mouth of Drakes Estero a day earlier.

Dell'Osso says the missing man's two companions, however, made it across during Monday's outing. Search efforts were suspended after about six hours due to dusk and resumed on Tuesday morning.

The missing man has not been identified, but Dell'Osso says he is in his early 20s.

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL

Bullet train foes seek state Supreme Court review

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Opponents of California's $68 billion high-speed rail project are appealing to the state Supreme Court, asking the justices to overturn a lower court ruling that allowed the project to proceed.

In a petition submitted Tuesday, Central Valley residents argue that the July 31 appellate court ruling undercuts 100 years of precedent requiring the state to strictly comply with promises made in ballot measures.

They argue the current bullet train plans violate terms of the 2008 ballot measure, when voters approved selling nearly $10 billion in bonds.

Proposition 1A promised that the state would identify funding for the first useable stretch and have environmental clearances done before starting construction.

A lower court judge ordered the state to write a new funding plan, but the appellate court said the challenge was premature.

T25-STANFORD-UNTESTED O-LINE

Stanford's O-line trying to live up to reputation

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -Stanford's offensive line was in the middle of a meeting during spring practices earlier this year when a few large visitors walked into the room.

Current NFL linemen Jonathan Martin and David Yankey and former team captain Sam Schwartzstein popped in with a couple of other past players for a surprise history lesson. They educated the new crop of Cardinal linemen about the responsibility they were inheriting and issued a challenge to improve upon what had been established.

With four new starters next to returning left tackle Andrus Peat, the unit is in the early stages of another reconstruction. It will face its first major test Saturday when the 13th-ranked Cardinal host Leonard Williams and No. 14 Southern California in a much-anticipated Pac-12 tilt.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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