AP NEWS

Statewide review of natural gas systems part of budget bill

March 30, 2019

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Charlie Baker has signed a spending bill that funds a statewide examination of Massachusetts’ natural gas distribution system.

The review was ordered after the Sept. 13 gas explosions that killed one person, injured 25 others and damaged or destroyed dozens of buildings in the Merrimack Valley.

DPU announced in November that it had selected Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems to conduct the independent “comprehensive safety review” of pipeline infrastructure and the operation of natural gas companies throughout the state, and recommend any needed improvements.

The supplemental budget signed Friday by the Republican governor includes $1.5 million for the effort. The state hopes to recover the costs from utilities.

The spending bill totals $136 million and also includes funds for low-income heating assistance, emergency shelters for homeless families and collective bargaining agreements.