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Senator Markey Statement on Columbia Gas Mitigation and Replacement Plan
Friday, September 21, 2018
Boston (September 21, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement after Columbia Gas of Massachusetts announced the next phase of recovery and replacement activities for the Merrimack Valley and the communities of Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover after the explosions and fires of September 13 that killed one, injured others, and displaced more than 8,000 residents.
“The electricity is back on, but residents of Merrimack Valley are still in the dark about what happened on September 13,” said Senator Markey. “As Columbia Gas starts work to replace 48 miles of pipeline, we need to know they have learned from this disaster. Every single family needs concrete answers about when this work will be completed, when their gas will be restored, and that the work is being done safely. Instead of answers to these questions, so far Columbia Gas has only sowed chaos and confusion for these communities. 
“Columbia Gas needs to commit whatever financial resources are necessary to help families immediately, and make them 100% whole in the long-term. The company must also provide assurances that it will be Columbia Gas and not our ratepayers who will foot the bill for these repairs. Fall and winter are coming and families in the Merrimack Valley need to know that they will not be left out in the cold.”
Today, Senators Markey and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called on Columbia Gas of Massachusetts to provide information and assurances about other low-pressure natural gas distribution systems in Massachusetts in the wake of the deadly accident.

Senators Markey and Warren Query Columbia Gas about Safety of Its Pipelines Throughout Massachusetts in Wake of Merrimack Valley Explosions and Fires Friday, September 21, 2018
Boston (September 21, 2018) – Senators Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today called on Columbia Gas of Massachusetts to provide information and assurances about other low-pressure natural gas distribution systems in Massachusetts in the wake of the deadly September 13 gas explosions and fires in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover. In the letter the Senators ask for details about current or planned work to uprate these low-pressure distribution systems to medium-pressure systems, as well as operating procedures for upgrading the pipeline system.  
“It is imperative that we understand what actions Columbia Gas is taking to ensure the safety of its pipeline system in all other areas of the state,” write the Senators in the letter to Columbia Gas of Massachusetts.  
A copy of the letter to Columbia Gas can be found HERE.
According to the National Transit Safety Board (NTSB), its investigation is focusing on a pressure increase that may be linked to pressure sensors that were on a gas line taken out of service by Columbia Gas. The company had reported earlier that day that it was performing upgrade work in the region. The Senators also ask about the contractor that was performing the upgrade work on the pipelines, if that contractor continues to work on other areas of the pipeline for Columbia Gas, and for the company to provide a copy of the Columbia Gas’ Operator Qualification Plan.

Dorchester contractor doing gas work on day of Greater Lawrence blasts denies wrongdoing Boston Herald 2018/09/22 Feeney Brothers Utility Services, the Columbia Gas contractor that is now a focus of federal investigators, denied its work was done improperly…