City Councilors examine the safety of Boston's gas infrastructure
September 21, 2018
The Councilors called for a discussion around natural gas safety features such as automatic shutoff valves, communications strategies to inform residents through multiple sources about disaster preparedness, and optimized coordination with utilities.
Councilor Pressley said, “This is not a reactive measure by this Body. This work has been thoughtfully and proactively an issue that has been spotlighted by Councilor O’Malley in partnership with Councilor Zakim for a very long time.” She then recognized Leonel Rondon, 18, who was killed last Thursday on September 13 when a house exploded, and its chimney toppled onto the vehicle in which he was sitting, sending prayers to his family and all those who were impacted by the gas explosions in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover.
Since June, more than 1,000 gas workers have been blocked from their jobs by National Grid, which provides the gas services in Boston, amid negotiations with United Steel Workers Local 12003 and 12012. Dozens of the locked out workers attended Wednesday's Council meeting, filling the Council Chamber to capacity and Councilors used the opportunity to show their support for the laborers.
Councilor O’Malley said, “Like many of you, I watched media reports about what was happening in the Merrimac Valley last Thursday and Friday and it was shocking. It was terrifying… It’s incredibly disappointing to me that this Chamber today is filled with incredibly talented men and women who want to be back to work making our streets safe, but have been locked out by National Grid. That is unconscionable.”
The matter was assigned to the Committee on Environment, Sustainability, and Parks for a hearing.