State Representative Frank A. Moran Passes Gas Safety Amendment in Response to the Merrimack Valley Gas Explosion

As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve, State Representative Frank A. Moran (D – Lawrence) joined Speaker DeLeo and their colleagues in the House on July 31 to pass legislation building on the House’s continued commitment to address the effects of climate change by requiring the Commonwealth to achieve net-zero statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

For the first time, the legislation, An Act Creating a 2050 Roadmap to a Clean and Thriving Commonwealth (H. 4933), establishes the criteria in statute that define environmental justice populations. The legislation also increases support for clean energy workforce development programs, improves access to renewable energy and energy efficiency programs for low-income communities, and requires the state to increase its use of renewable resources for its electricity needs.

Included in this legislation was an amendment filed by Representative Moran in response to the Merrimack Valley gas explosion of 2018 that requires the Department of Public Utilities to update its regulations surrounding the maintenance, timely updating, accuracy, and security of gas distribution companies.

“The Merrimack Valley gas explosion showed us how ill prepared gas distribution companies are to maintain the safety of their infrastructure, as well as its dire consequences,” said State Representative Frank A. Moran (D – Lawrence). “This amendment implements measures to ensure that these companies are adhering to proper gas safety protocols so that a tragedy such as this is never allowed to happen again in Massachusetts.”

The legislation includes the following provisions.

  • Sets a statewide net zero limit on greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In addition, sets one of the most ambitious interim limits in the nation for 2030 and 2040 – at 50 percent below 1990 emissions levels and 75 percent below, respectively.