State lawmakers calling for change in natural gas lines infrastructure protocols

Boston Statehouse

Massachusetts lawmakers are changing protocols regarding the state’s natural gas infrastructure.  

To make sure another natural gas disaster doesn’t occur, the Baker Administration is calling in professional inspectors to oversee the state’s gas lines. 

A piece of legislation filed on Tuesday would require a certified professional engineer to review and approve all natural gas work that could pose a risk to public safety in Massachusetts. 

This change in policy comes after over pressurized gas lines in the Merrimack Valley caused dozens of house fires in September, killing one person, injuring dozens of others, and displacing thousands of residents in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover. 

Back in October, the Department of Public Utilities ordered Columbia Gas to halt all work that wasn’t an emergency or for compliance.

That moratorium was set to run until December first, but on Wednesday, more than 2,000 homes still remain without gas service in the Merrimack Valley. 

State officials say the certified engineer inspections are to ensure that infrastructure work is done correctly, and in a way that maximizes public safety.  

Governor Charlie Baker said this legislation would provide another critical check and balance on the Commonwealth’s gas infrastructure. 

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