O’Malley files hearing order to examine gas safety

October 5, 2018
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City Councilor Matt O’Malley, who represents a portion of Back of the Hill, filed a hearing order on Sept. 19 with two other councilors—Ed Flynn and Ayanna Pressley—to examine the safety of the City’s gas infrastructure.

The move comes after a natural gas incident led to fires and explosions in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover and one man being killed. The incident is believed to be the result of overpressurization.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

The safety of natural gas has been a prominent issue in the city, with some residents blaming leaks from the aging infrastructure that carries the gas on killing trees and harming the environment. O’Malley led the Council to pass an ordinance on gas safety in 2016, which is being disputed by a gas company in court.