November 15, 2018

Senators Warren and Markey Statement on NTSB Initial Safety Recommendations on Merrimack Valley Natural Gas Pipeline Explosions and Fires

Washington, DC – United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today released the following statement after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its initial recommendations in the wake of the September 13 natural gas pipeline disaster that killed one, injured dozens, and displaced thousands in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover. Today, the NTSB released an interim Safety Recommendation Report, including five new safety recommendations.
“Columbia Gas failed to keep track of what projects were being done on their gas system. It failed to prioritize safety when conducting those projects. And it failed its customers, the residents of the Merrimack Valley, and the public trust,” said Senators Markey and Warren. “In response to our questions on how and why Columbia Gas could have been operating so blindly and so dangerously, the company has provided us with inadequate answers and tragically deficient company policies. The families still without gas in freezing temperatures deserve answers, and we expect Columbia Gas to provide them when it testifies before the Senate Commerce Committee on November 26 in Lawrence. And we call on NiSource to implement these recommendations immediately.”
Senators Warren and Markey sent a letter this week to Columbia Gas and NiSource requesting additional documents regarding the operation of the company’s natural gas distribution system in Merrimack Valley. The recommendations released today by NTSB are similar to the requests Senator Markey made in his letter this week. 
Senators Markey and Warren, along with Representatives Niki Tsongas (MA-03) and Seth Moulton (MA-06) will hold a Congressional field hearing on the explosions in Lawrence, Massachusetts on November 26.