November 20, 2019

Senators Warren and Markey Commend House Committee Passage of Pipeline Safety Legislation That Includes “Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act”

Senators Warren and Markey, and Rep. Trahan introduced legislation in wake of Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts natural gas pipeline explosions and fires that killed 19-year old Leonel Rondon

Washington, DC – Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) commended the House Energy and Commerce Committee for inclusion and passage of their legislation, the Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act, in SAFER Pipelines Act. The Senators and Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03) introduced their legislation in the wake of the September 2018 Merrimack Valley natural gas disaster that killed Leonel Rondon, injured more than two dozen, and damaged more than 100 structures. Large portions of their legislation, which responds to gaps uncovered during the lawmakers’ investigation into the deadly disaster, were passed out of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in July 2019.
“We’re proud to see the House Committee on Energy and Commerce include the pipeline safety bill we authored with Rep. Trahan as an amendment to their SAFER Pipelines Act,” said Senators Warren and Markey. “We must enact the Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act to honor the memory of the young man killed by the reckless gas explosion and ensure no community in Massachusetts or anywhere has to face a similar disaster to the one families and businesses lived through in the Merrimack Valley.”
Since the September 13, 2018 gas explosions, Senators Warren and Markey, and Rep. Trahan have been working with community leaders like Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera to hold Columbia Gas and NiSource accountable. In addition to introducing the Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act, they helped hold the companies accountable to safely restore gas service to residents and businesses and make needed repairs to infrastructure. They also helped successfully secure emergency assistance for the region's small businesses impacted by the disaster, sent a letter to Columbia Gas decrying the large backdated gas bills for impacted families, and led a hearing in November 2018 on the disaster.