BOSTON – The Senate on Thursday, April 10 unanimously passed a bill that establishes natural gas leak classification standards, requiring gas companies to repair the most dangerous leaks immediately, and aligns civil penalties for pipeline facility and gas transportation safety violations with federal law, Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) announced.

“Natural gas leaks are a significant public health and safety concern in the Commonwealth which affect every community in the state,” stated Senator Moore, the Senate Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security. “This bill takes important and necessary steps to ensure that these leaks are properly classified and repaired. The bill also encourages gas companies to create plans to repair aging infrastructure and increase access to natural gas. This is a common sense approach to reduce pollution, address consumer costs and to ensure the safety of Massachusetts residents.”

The bill identifies a three-tiered classification system to identify natural gas leaks in the Commonwealth, ranging from a Grade 1 hazardous leak that requires immediate repair to a Grade 3 non-hazardous leak that must be reevaluated during the next scheduled survey or within one year. Grade 2 leaks represent a probable future hazard and must be repaired within one year.