LAWRENCE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Nearly seven months after the Merrimack Valley gas explosions, the Massachusetts congressional delegation and local officials outlined pipeline safety legislation.
Leonel Rondon,18, was killed when a house exploded on Chickering Road in South Lawrence on September 13, 2018.
The communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover were rocked after a series of gas explosions and fires that destroying nearly 70 homes. The disaster caused millions in damages and displaced thousands, leaving them without access to natural gas.
Investigators determined that one of the causes of the explosions stemmed from over-pressurization of the gas line system 12-times beyond its limit. Now Lawmakers are working to create regulations to ensure pipeline safety.
According to Sen. Ed Markey, the proposed legislation is named after Rondon and aims to stengenten pipeline safety by closing regulary loopholes and increasing safety standards. He said that the federal investigation after the disaster found natural gas companies need far more regulation than they're currently getting.
“Our natural gas pipeline infrastructure is a ticking time bomb. And unless we reform it, repair it, and rebuild it, we are assured to have a system wide failure in communities across the nation,” Markey said.
Rondon’s sister, Luciani, was there. She wore white and wept for her brother.
“He will never be forgotten,” Luciani said.
The federal Department of Transportation can fine a company $200,000 a day, up to $2 million for safety violations. This bill would increase that by 100 percent.
WBZ NewsRadio’s Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports