A Statement from Senator Eric P. Lesser Regarding the Columbia Gas Explosions in the Merrimack Valley:

SPRINGFIELD — Today, following the tragic events in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover on Thursday evening, Senator Eric P. Lesser released the following statement:

“I express my condolences to the families of the Merrimack Valley who have lost their homes and all of those hurt by this tragedy. I’d also like to thank the first responders on the ground for their quick response and life-saving work.

“In light of yesterday’s tragic events in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, I am calling on the Department of Public Utilities to conduct a statewide investigation of Columbia Gas operations, including an immediate plan for fixing the hundreds of gas leaks already known and identified across our Commonwealth. Until that investigation and plan is complete, there must be a halt to new permitting and construction, including the proposed Longmeadow metering station.

“Unfortunately, our region has seen the devastating impact of gas leaks. Springfield experienced an explosion as recently as 2012 that caused widespread damage.

“It shouldn’t take a tragedy to force action. Enough is enough. Columbia Gas has a moral obligation to protect the public and to fix their infrastructure.”

Sen. Lesser represents Springfield, Chicopee, Ludlow, Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, Hampden, Wilbraham, and Granby which accounts for 50 percent of Columbia Gas’ service area in Western Massachusetts.

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