Congressional Delegation Asks Columbia Gas Fines Benefit Affected Merrimack Valley Communities

U.S. Reps. Lori Trahan and Seth Moulton in Andover. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The state’s Congressional delegation is rallying to keep fines paid by Columbia Gas in the Merrimack Valley.

Congresswoman Lori Trahan, along with Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey and Reps. Seth Moulton, Joseph Kennedy III, Stephen Lynch, Katherine Clark, Richard Neal and James McGovern are pushing U.S. Attorney General William Barr to direct fines from 2018’s Columbia Gas disaster back into Lawrence, Andover and North Andover that are still recovering in 2020. The criminal fine of $53,030,116 is to be paid to the U.S. government, but there are efforts being made to direct the money to fixing the wrongdoings of the gas company and supporting affected residents, businesses and first responders.

Appearing on WHAV’s “Win for Breakfast” Thursday, Trahan said, “At a minimum we want to make sure that the proceeds from the fine come back to our communities so that those communities can make the investments that they need to. The most important thing is making sure those communities are whole and making sure that people recover from the trauma they experienced two years ago.”

Columbia Gas pleaded guilty to violating safety standards of the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act on February 26. The company has agreed to pay a fine of $53 million and leave the state. The utility Eversource has agreed to buy the company for $1.1 billion.

Comments are closed.