Mass. Legislature Moves To Plug Gas Leaks

Proposals aimed at preventing gas leaks in Massachusetts’ aging infrastructure is moving forward in the legislature.

A Senate bill creates a classification system for leaks, ranging from the most dangerous, to ones considered non-hazardous. Gas companies would be required to immediately repair the most severe leaks, but would be given a year to address those that aren’t an imminent threat.

During the bill’s debate, Senator Gale Candaras recalled walking through the ‘rubble’ left by a 2012 gas leak explosion in Springfield’s North End. She says aging gas infrastructure could complicate some major construction, including of a possible casino, proposed for downtown Springfield.

“I am truly fearful about the gas leak situation. I’m hoping we’re going to be ok through all of this development, and that we’re not going to have any disasters,” says Candaras. “I’m going to count very heavily on the experts to make sure everything goes well and no one is injured.”

The Senate last week unanimously passed the bill, while the House passed a version in February. The two chambers will need to find a compromise, before gas leak legislation can head to the governor’s desk.