Legislation will improve public safety and environmental welfare, reduce energy costs
BOSTON – State Representative Jeffrey Sánchez joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in unanimously approving a bill to further enhance the state’s ability to anticipate, repair and guard against natural gas leaks.
The bill establishes a program to accelerate the process of replacing aging pipelines that will lower capital costs for companies and gas rates for consumers. This legislation also creates uniform standards with requirements to ensure timely repairs and reevaluations.
“These natural gas leaks are an environmental and public health issue,” according to Representative Sánchez, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Health. “By requiring minimum safety standards we can expect the occurrence of natural gas explosions to be greatly reduced and public safety to increase.”
Anticipated improvements will reduce greenhouse emissions as an estimated 5,600 leak-prone pipes in Massachusetts are repaired. “I have seen a number of trees in my district deteriorate rapidly because of the methane that is released by these distribution pipes”, said Sánchez, “this bill will help to remedy this issue and protect and preserve our green spaces.”
The legislation establishes a Gas Expansion Program which makes natural gas service available to new consumers and allows companies to offer financing programs to those switching to natural gas. This should result in cost savings for households, businesses and municipalities.
The legislation will also require gas companies to coordinate surveys, replacements and repairs with municipalities and state paving organizations. In addition, it will mandate gas companies to report location, classification and date of leak to DPU. Finally, this legislation will authorize DPU to establish a minimum winter patrol standard for cast-iron pipelines.