Press Releases

Congresswoman Trahan Statement on Columbia Gas Sentencing

LOWELL, MA – Today, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03) released a statement following the sentencing of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts for violating the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act leading to the Merrimack Valley gas explosions:

“Today’s sentencing won’t bring back Leonel Rondon, and it won’t heal the physical and emotional scars of the 22 people who were injured during the Merrimack Valley gas explosions. However, it is an important step toward justice for them and the hundreds of families who have suffered because of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts’ negligence.”

“I’m grateful to the U.S. Attorney’s office and to the court for their work to hold Columbia Gas accountable. I will continue working to ensure that the funds from this fine are used to support the first responders, counselors, and countless others who continue to provide services to the victims of the explosions.”

“We must also continue our work at the federal level to ensure no community ever goes through a tragic experience like this again. Congress must pass the Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act without delay.”

Following Columbia Gas of Massachusetts’ guilty plea in February, Trahan led a request from members of the Massachusetts Federal Delegation to the Department of Justice asking that they use their discretionary authority to allocate any funds from a criminal settlement to support those affected by the gas explosions. The full request can be accessed HERE.

Trahan also introduced the Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act with Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Congressman Seth Moulton (MA-06) to enact tough new rules on gas pipeline operators and prevent another tragedy like the Merrimack Valley gas explosions. This legislation recently passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee as part of the SAFER Pipeline Act. Trahan continues to advocate for passage of this vital legislation in Congress.