Massachusetts on the Verge of Passing Natural Gas Leak LegislationJul 31st, 2012 | By fjgallagher | Category: Regulation
In the final session of the legislative calendar, natural gas pipeline safety advocates are looking to the Massachusetts Legislature to pass a bill today that would require natural gas companies to more closely monitor and repair the thousands of existing natural gas leaks across the state and develop a comprehensive natural gas infrastructure replacement program to reduce the threat of a natural gas explosions.
“Their doesn’t seem to be any opposition to it,” Thomas Mills, an aide to Rep. Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead) said of the bill, H.4222. “It’s already been passed by the House, and we’re hopeful that the Senate will pass it today as well so we can get something to the Governor’s desk for him to sign.”
Ehrlich has been trying to get legislation targeting the threat of natural gas leaks in Massachusetts passed for years.
“Right now, our natural gas pipeline infrastructure has more than 20,000 known leaks in it,” Ehrlich told NaturalGasWatch.org. in an April 2011 interview. “That’s putting out somewhere between 8-12 billion cubic feet of unaccounted for natural gas into the atmosphere, and it’s a serious threat not only to our environment, but also our public safety. Usually we only think about these things whenever something burns down or explodes because of a natural gas leak. My goal with this legislation is to prevent more of those fires and explosions from happening.”
Mark McDonald, the president of the New England Gas Workers Association, said the legislation would help reduce the threat to the public safety and force the natural gas companies to finally take responsibility for the lack of integrity that defines Massachusetts’ natural gas pipeline infrastructure.
“The companies are always trying to squirm out of their responsibility for monitoring the leaks in their system, and that’s crazy,” McDonald told NaturalGasWatch.org. “This legislation will force them to take action, classify and repair their leaks and make that information publicly available.”
McDonald, a natural gas pipeline safety consultant with decades of experience, worked closely with Ehrlich to develop the bill and made significant contributions to the language beefing up pipeline safety regulations.
Read the complete text of Ehrlich’s bill, H.4222, here: Massachusetts Natural Gas Infrastructure Bill H.4222