July 2, 2020 (BOSTON, MA) – Conservation Law Foundation and Groundwork Lawrence released the following statements today after Columbia Gas finalized the sale of its Massachusetts assets to Eversource. The sale comes after the deadly September 2018 gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley.
“Almost two years later, Merrimack Valley residents and businesses are still recovering from the gas explosions. It is only appropriate that Columbia Gas cease operations in the state,” said Amy Laura Cahn, Director of CLF’s Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice program. “With over a billion dollars changing hands in the sale of Columbia Gas to Eversource, a significant portion of those resources should go to providing energy savings to residents and making the communities who suffered most safer and more resilient.”
The 2018 explosions left one person dead and damaged dozens of homes in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover. The cause was found to be excessive pressure in Columbia’s gas lines in the area.
“The scars from the 2018 gas disaster are still prevalent on our streets, in our homes, in our parks, and in our minds,” said Heather McMann, Executive Director of Groundwork Lawrence. “Despite the resiliency of our community, and the support our residents, businesses, and nonprofit organizations have shown amidst the worst of circumstances, we cannot, nor should we, rebuild alone. With the sale of Columbia Gas and the ongoing challenges of recovery, it is only appropriate that funds from the sale go towards helping the community that is still dealing with the repercussions of this disaster.”
Experts are available for further comment.