April 10, 2014
Boston – Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham) today successfully passed an amendment to the natural gas leaks bill that would strengthen the leak classification system created by the bill.
The bill establishes a three-tiered classification system that will be used to categorize leaks based on their potential safety threat. Senator Ross’ amendment bolsters the definition of grade 1 leaks, those that pose the greatest safety risk, by mandating that they be repaired as immediately as possible. Lower grade leaks will be provided additional time for scheduled repairs.
“This amendment reinforces the bill’s intent by providing a sense of urgency to those repairs that pose the most immediate threat to our safety,” said Senator Ross. “As our aging infrastructure breaks down, it is imperative that we enact the necessary safeguards to prevent dangerous situations from arising.”
The bill also prioritizes gas leaks that are identified within a school zone and requires that the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) authorize all use of explosives within 500 yards of a natural gas pipeline. To enhance community safety, gas companies must be notified of any significant projects for public ways that expose natural gas infrastructures. The project area must then be surveyed for gas leaks.
The bill was passed unanimously by the Senate. A conference committee will now be appointed to resolve differences between the bills that were passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or email Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.