Friday, February 14, 2014

House Approves Bill to Ensure Effective Management and Expansion of Natural Gas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    
February 13, 2014                                                                                             
House Approves Bill to Ensure Effective Management and Expansion of Natural Gas
Legislation will improve public safety and environmental welfare, reduce energy costs  

(BOSTON) – State Representative Thomas Golden joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in unanimously approving a public safety bill that will improve the state’s ability to anticipate, repair, and guard against natural gas leaks.

The bill will also extend potential savings to municipalities, businesses, and households by expanding natural gas services to new consumers. Businesses will be able to offer financing programs to these new consumers. 

Further, the bill will accelerate the replacement of aging pipelines by creating an infrastructure replacement program. It will also establish uniform classification standards for natural gas leaks. These standards have corresponding requirements and timelines for repair, surveillance, or reevaluation.

“As legislators it is our responsibility to ensure Massachusetts’ citizens are safe in their homes, schools and greater communities,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said. “This bill brings us one step closer to that goal, while also helping the environment and generating cost savings for our residents and businesses.”

“This bill will really improve the energy infrastructure in our Commonwealth,” said State Rep. Thomas Golden. “It paves the way for natural gas to be cheaper, safer, and more accessible.”

Greenhouse emissions will be reduced, as an estimated 5,600 leak-prone pipes in Massachusetts are repaired.

The legislation will also:

·         Require gas companies to coordinate surveys, replacements and repairs with municipalities and state paving organizations
·         Mandate gas companies to report location, classification and date of leak to DPU

  • Authorize DPU to establish a minimum winter patrol standard for cast-iron pipelines 
  • Increase worker safety by requiring minimum safety standards for utility infrastructure

The bill now moves to the Senate.


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