Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions

Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions

On September 13, 2018, unimaginable heartbreak struck the Merrimack Valley when a series of gas explosions claimed the life of 18-year-old Leonel Rondon and injured many more across the region. Homes and business were destroyed, and thousands were forced to evacuate the area.

Congresswoman Trahan recognizes that this disaster could have been prevented. Congress has no greater responsibility to the American people than to provide for their safety and security.

In 2019, Congresswoman Trahan introduced -- along with Senator Ed Markey and Congressman Seth Moulton -- the Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act.

The bill draws upon the lessons from that awful day and puts in place measures that will prevent another such disaster. This legislation requires better communications from the pipeline company to the first responders and the public. The new emergency response communication protocol established by this bill would ensure that the brave first responders who come to the rescue have the information they need, when they need it.

The bill also emphasizes safety measures designed to stop such disasters before they ever begin, such as requiring that pipeline projects earn the seal of a professionally licensed engineer. The bill requires onsite monitoring during construction to ensure that the gas can be cut-off if there is a spike in pressure. On September 13, 2018 it took nearly 30 minutes from when the high-pressure alarms sounded until the gas regulator was closed. The Congresswoman has repeatedly said: "this is unacceptable."

Because of the cooperation of Massachusetts’ federal, state, and local officials, these important reforms are moving closer to becoming the law of the land. In Massachusetts, progress is already being made by the state government and private sector, and Congress is working to apply these lessons at the federal level from coast to coast. 

Congress must act based on the lessons we have learned from this tragedy. Congresswoman Trahan is proud to stand with Senator Markey and Congressman Moulton to advance the Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act to make sure that no other community goes through what Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover went through in 2018.

The Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act became law on December 28, 2020