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City Councilors Push for Examination of Boston’s Gas Infrastructure

In wake of the horrific gas explosions in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, a trio of Boston City Councilors are calling for an examination of the city’s gas safety infrastructure.

District 6 City Councilor Matt O’Malley, District 2 City Councilor and At-Large City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, filed the order to hold a future hearing at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

For O’Malley, it continues his pursuit to make sure the city’s gas lines are safe. In 2016, as chair of the council’s Environment, Sustainability and Parks Committee, O’Malley led the passing of a city law that would reduce gas leaks, improve safety, help the environment and lessen the cost of gas. But it has not been implemented due to gas company National Grid’s lawsuit opposing its implementation.

“What happened in the Merrimack Valley last week was horrifying, and we are thankful for Boston’s first responders for their rapid response to support the residents of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover,” said O’Malley. “I hope our hearing can explore natural gas safety features like updated shut-off valves, communication strategies to inform residents about disaster preparedness, and improved coordination between the city, its residents, and the private companies responsible for this infrastructure.”

O’Malley and the council received a standing ovation after the introduction of the order. Many National Grid employees, of which 1,250 were locked out in June, were in attendance.

“Workers over and over again said ‘God Forbid’ and God forbid happened,” said Pressley, reported Jackie Tempera of Mass Live News. “We can’t let it happen again.”

Pressley said the future hearing will examine the city’s current natural gas infrastructure, including the existing natural gas leaks, which are in the 4,000 to 5,000 range. “This hearing will be focused on ensuring that we are utilizing every best practice to fix our natural gas leaks and protecting our neighbors and the environment from any potential disaster,” said Pressley.

Flynn has previously stressed that it’s essential to public safety that the locked out, experienced and skilled workers, deal with potentially dangerous situations.

The order was referred to the Committee on Environment, Sustainability and Parks for a future hearing.