See Press Release Below:
BOSTON – Boston City Councilors Matt O’Malley and Ed Flynn called for a hearing last week to examine the issue of gas leaks in the City of Boston. The Councilors seek to discuss the negative impacts on our environment and trees, public safety and public health, as well as strategies to effectively repair and prevent future gas leaks.
In 2016, City Councilor Matt O’Malley sponsored an ordinance on the elimination of gas leaks in the City of Boston, which was referred to the Committee on Environment & Sustainability and Committee on Government Operations. The ordinance was passed by the Boston City Council and signed by Mayor Walsh in December 2016, and was later disputed in court by a utility company.
In 2018, utility companies reported more than 16,000 unrepaired gas leaks to the MA Department of Public Utilities, with more than 1,800 unrepaired leaks in Boston. While these figures are staggering, independent researchers typically find 1.5 to 3 times the number of gas leaks than what was reported by utility companies.
In addition, a recent study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters found that Boston and other cities in the northeast are responsible for twice the amount of methane gas than previous estimates from federal authorities. Gas leaks emit methane gas, which is a greenhouse gas that is approximately 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in trapping gases that lead to climate change. Moreover, gas leaks seep into the ground and kill our trees, and can lead to fires and explosions if the leaks are big enough.
“It is imperative to address the issue of gas leaks for the sake of the environmental health and safety of our city,” said Councilor O’Malley. “These leaks are dangerous, and we need to do our utmost to improve the safety of our aging natural gas infrastructure.”
“To me, this is all about public safety, public health, as well as social and environmental justice,” said Councilor Flynn. “We must continue this discussion with experts and advocates about next steps that may be helpful to protect our neighborhoods.”
For more information, please contact Councilor O’Malley’s office at 617-635-4220 and [email protected], and Councilor Flynn’s office at 617-635-3203 and [email protected].
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