Tuesday, November 12, 2019

State House Hearing on Gas Pipeline Safety Bills

On September 13, 2018 the lives and livelihoods of tens of thousands of residents and workers of the Merrimack Valley were disrupted and put into grave risk by explosions, fires and widespread destruction caused by gas leaks.

Today, at a State House hearing of the legislature's Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy I offered testimony in support of legislation aimed at protecting public safety and the loss of property from natural gas. I filed Senate Bill 2013, An Act Ensuring Public Safety At Natural Gas Sites, which directs the Department of Public Utilities to develop regulations to ensure that natural gas pressure is monitored by qualified professionals at each site where gas work is being performed involving the pressurization of transmission lines, to support an urgent recommendation of the National Transportation Safety Board, the federal agency that investigated the catastrophe. The NTSB's safety recommendations said "Gas main pressures should be continually monitored during these modifications and assets should be placed at critical locations to immediately shut down the system if abnormal operations are detected." This is exactly in keeping with the bill I filed.

The legislative delegation representing Andover, Lawrence and North Andover stood strong today in support of legislation to protect all of us in the Commonwealth.

The factors that caused the severe and long lasting hardships experienced by residents, local businesses, and the tragic loss of life caused by the gas explosions and fires are now better understood and we have well-reasoned proposals to protect the public ready for advancement.

With: State Senator Barry Finegold, State Senator Diana DiZoglio, Representative Frank Moran, Representative Tram T Nguyen, Representative Marcos Devers, Representative Christina Minicuccii, Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, former North Andover Town Manager and state Comptroller Andrew Maylor, Andover Town Manager Andrew Flanagan and others.