By Debra Parkhurst
Bedford’s Energy Task Force and a group of residents (including representatives of the Sierra Club, Transition Town Bedford, Mothers Out Front and the First Parish climate justice committee) asked the Selectmen on November 16, 2015 to support Massachusetts House Bill 2870 and House Bill 2871 which aim to reduce gas leaks.
HB 2870 seeks to protect customers from paying for leaked and unaccounted for gas by prohibiting providers from passing on this loss to their customers. This lost gas may come from leakage, monitoring discrepancies, and other circumstances. In the past, these costs have been passed on to consumers.
Supporters of HB 2870 contend that leaking is hazardous to vegetation in the ground and adds to the creation of methane and ultimately ozone formation. The passage of this bill would provide incentive to gas providers to improve technologies, transportation, distribution and storage. House Bill 2871 would require the repair of all gas leaks when a road is “opened” for significant repair or for other underground utility or infrastructure repairs. Grade 1 leaks (considered the most dangerous threat) must be repaired immediately while less significant leaks have to be repaired within 12 months. Bedford’s State Representative Ken Gordon is a signatory to both petitions.
The Selectmen agreed to support the legislation and will write a letter indicating their strong support of both House bills.