Lawmakers proposing federal pipeline bill after gas disaster

The gas explosions were triggered by overpressurized gas lines and injured dozens of people, damaged hundreds of buildings and left thousands of customers without natural gas service for months.

Utility contractors dig up the road above natural gas lines along Brookfield Street in Lawrence last September following the explosions in the Merrimack Valley area serviced by Columbia Gas of Massachusetts.
Utility contractors dig up the road above natural gas lines along Brookfield Street in Lawrence last September following the explosions in the Merrimack Valley area serviced by Columbia Gas of Massachusetts. –Charles Krupa / AP, File

LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) — Massachusetts members of Congress are proposing new federal pipeline safety requirements in response to September’s natural gas explosives and fires in the Merrimack Valley.

U.S. Senator Ed Markey and U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan say they’ll announce the proposed legislation Monday at a fire station in Lawrence.

The Democrats say their bill addresses deficiencies revealed by the Sept. 13 incident by “closing regulatory loopholes and increasing safety standards” for pipeline distribution systems.

They’ll be joined Monday by local officials and the family of Leonel Rondon, the Lawrence teen killed in the disaster. The bill is named in honor of Rondon.

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The gas explosions were triggered by overpressurized gas lines and injured dozens of people, damaged hundreds of buildings and left thousands of customers without natural gas service for months.

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