Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder, Rep. Ed Markey, 202-225-6065

Giselle Barry, Rep. Ed Markey, 202-225-2836

Markey Questions Pipeline Safety Agency on Boston Gas Leaks

WASHINGTON (November 21, 2012) – Following a study released by Boston University that shows thousands of small natural gas leaks exist below Boston emanating from aging pipelines, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) today asked the federal agency in charge of pipeline safety why the agency has not required pipeline companies to hand over data on risk assessments and inspection and maintenance plans for aging pipelines.

The BU report, which was done in conjunction with Duke University, found 3,356 methane leaks from natural gas pipelines in Boston. While most of the leaks pose little danger for explosions, Rep. Markey notes in his letter to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) both say that “hazardous” leaks must be repaired “promptly”, PHMSA has not defined either of those terms. “As a result, leaks that have a high risk of becoming hazardous could be left unrepaired for years,” writes Rep. Markey.

The full letter from Rep. Markey to PHMSA can be found HERE.

“This study shows that we need a plan to ensure leaks from aging natural gas pipelines in Boston and other cities and communities are repaired, so that we can conserve this important natural resource, protect the consumers from paying for gas that they don't even use, and prevent emissions of greenhouse gases into the environment,” writes Rep. Markey, top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee and a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. “We shouldn’t wait until a worst-case scenario occurs before we act to protect consumers, citizens and the environment.”

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