Federal Gas Pipeline Safety Bill Advances Through Senate Panel

LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) — Legislation aimed at improving national pipeline safety following last September’s natural gas explosions in Massachusetts has advanced in Congress.

Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts says most of his Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act was incorporated into legislation reauthorizing the Department of Transportation’s pipeline safety program. That broader bill cleared a Senate committee Wednesday and heads to the full Senate for approval.

Markey’s bill was named in honor of the lone person killed in the Merrimack Valley disaster, which injured dozens, damaged hundreds of buildings and left thousands without heat and hot water for weeks.

The bill requires a professional engineer to approve all plans or significant changes to natural gas systems. It also calls for other safety requirements to prevent pipeline over-pressurization, which was blamed for the explosions.

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