A city law that would reduce gas leaks, improve safety, help the environment and lessen the cost of gas has not been implemented due to gas company National Grid's lawsuit opposing its implementation. The law, which was to be implemented in July 2017, created a new mechanism for the city to deal with gas leaks to improve the management of Boston's infrastructure by coordinating maintenance, repair, upgrades, replacement with gas companies. Gas companies, of which National Grid is dominant in Boston, would be notified when a street is open by another utility company, cable company and others. The ordinance also gives the city the authority to recoup costs from utility companies for the destruction of trees and shrubbery, which often happens from gas leaks. District 6 City Councilor Matt O'Malley authored the law, which was passed by the Boston City Council and signed into law by Mayor Marty Walsh in December 2016.
There are thousands of gas leaks in Boston. Thousands. The leaks are obviously dangerous, and also consumers pay more due to millions worth of gas escaping into the air. An ordinance passed by the Boston City Council and authored by Jamaica Plain's City Councilor Matt O'Malley is aimed at eliminating natural gas leaks and improve the leak repair system. The council approved the ordinance 12-1 at its Wednesday meeting and now Mayor Martin J. Walsh has to sign it to become law.
Jamaica Plain's City Councilor Matt O’Malley will co-chair a public hearing on Tuesday about his proposed city ordinance aimed at eliminating gas leaks in Boston. “As rate payers, we are subsidizing nearly $90 million annually for unaccounted-for gas that escapes through leaks into the environment,” said O’Malley. “Leaks can be damaging to the environment, cause public health problems, and inflate consumers’ bills. And gas leaks can last for years, if not decades.”
O'Malley wants to eliminate gas leaks in Boston in six years, prioritize gas leak repairs and monitoring, and in turn, help the environment and save consumers money. The councilor hopes to improve coordination between utility companies and the city during road work to prevent gas leaks.