Washington (December 12, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement today after Columbia Gas of Massachusetts announced that restoration of gas service to residences and businesses in the Merrimack Valley is “substantially complete”.


“I still have many questions that remain unanswered as Columbia Gas transitions to ‘Phase 2’ of its restoration process,” said Senator Markey. “The residents of Lawrence, North Andover, and Andover need a timeline and must be reassured that there is a set plan for their appliances to be safely replaced, and we need to know that Columbia Gas will prioritize the use of energy efficient models. We also need to know what will happen if customers need boilers or other appliances serviced or replaced in the middle of winter. The residents of the Merrimack Valley have shown an historic resiliency during this cold New England winter, and I pledge to them that I will continue to fight to hold Columbia Gas and NiSource accountable.”


On November 26, Senator Markey hosted a Senate Commerce Committee field hearing in Lawrence with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Senator Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (MA-03), Congressman Seth Moulton (MA-06), and Congresswoman-elect Lori Trahan. The hearing was focused on the September 13 natural gas pipeline explosions and fires in Lawrence and Andover, Massachusetts that killed Leonel Rondon, injured more than two dozen, and damaged more than 100 structures. The hearing was the public’s opportunity to see Senator Markey and member of the New England Congressional delegation ask questions about the response efforts by Columbia Gas, as well as federal, state, and local authorities.