November 26, 2018

WBUR: Congress Members Call For Columbia Gas Executives To Resign Over Merrimack Valley Disaster

Congress members called for executives at the utility company to blame for September's natural gas explosions and fires in Massachusetts to step down Monday as they held a special hearing into the disaster.

The six House and Senate members from Massachusetts and New Hampshire who held the hearing at a packed middle school gymnasium in Lawrence took aim at the corporate culture at Columbia Gas of Massachusetts and its parent company, Indiana-based NiSource.

They painted a picture of a corporation that cut corners and lacked the internal procedures to prevent, let alone respond to, the Sept. 13 disaster that killed one person, injured dozens more, damaged more than 100 homes and left thousands without heat or hot water in the Merrimack Valley communities of Lawrence, North Andover and Andover.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, pushed the executives to disclose if anyone had been fired as a result of the disaster, but they declined to say. She also noted the company has been responsible for a number of gas leak incidents in Massachusetts in recent years.

"I just want to figure out what personal responsibility looks to you two," she said to Hamrock and Bryant. "You kept your jobs and you're still getting paid what sounds like a lot of money."

Read more here.

By:  Philip Marcelo
Source: WBUR