In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.

Senate Committee to Hold Hearing Monday on Natural Gas Explosions in Merrimack Valley

'We will get to the bottom of what happened,' Sen. Ed Markey told NBC10 Boston ahead of the hearing

More than two months after the pipeline gas explosions and fires, the Merrimack Valley is still struggling.

More than a thousand homes remain without gas.

“I feel that Lawrence is in crisis,” said resident Luz Pena. “There are still people going through hardship.”

As the repair work continues, the search for answers is really getting underway.

Democratic Sen. Ed Markey says the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will convene a full committee hearing Monday where they'll be taking testimony.

The hearing will focus on responses to the Sept. 13 explosions and fires in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover that killed one, injured about two dozen, and damaged more than 100 structures.

“Tomorrow will be a day of accountability,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

Markey and his colleagues will be grilling Columbia Gas and parent company NiSource about what went wrong that dreadful September day.

“We will get to the bottom of what happened,” Sen. Markey told NBC10 Boston ahead of the hearing. “Was it avoidable, and what can we do to make sure it never happens again.”

In a statement Sunday night, Columbia Gas says “Pipeline safety is the utmost priority for NiSource and Columbia Gas, and we welcome the opportunity to continue to focus on this issue at the upcoming congressional hearing.”

“We’ve given Columbia Gas and federal regulators enough time for them to produce answers tomorrow,” said Markey. “We will not be happy if they don’t have answers.”

Among those scheduled to appear are the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board; Steve Bryant, president of Columbia Gas; and Joe Hamrock, president of Columbia's parent company, NiSource.

The hearing will take place 9 a.m. Monday at the South Lawrence East Middle School.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us