BOSTON, MA – In the wake of the recent fatal natural gas pipeline explosion in Canton, Illinois, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Boston) called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to halt the permitting process and construction for the proposed Spectra pipelines in West Roxbury and Weymouth, Massachusetts. According to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), there have been more than 220 pipeline incidents in 2016. In a letter to FERC Chairman Norman Bay, Congressman Lynch highlighted the serious public safety risks of placing a natural gas pipeline in densely populated areas such as West Roxbury and Weymouth. Today’s letter follows Congressman Lynch’s November 2, 2016 letter to FERC after the deadly pipeline explosion in Shelby County, Alabama.

“I am deeply concerned about the tragic natural gas pipeline explosion in Canton, Illinois and I am repeating my call for FERC to launch comprehensive investigations into these deadly pipeline incidents. In the wake of these explosions, it is reckless for FERC to allow Spectra to proceed with the proposed projects in Weymouth and West Roxbury. We are putting countless lives at risk here and FERC needs to step in to improve safety measures to protect the public from harm,” said Congressman Lynch.

On November 16, a natural gas pipeline explosion killed one Ameren Illinois employee and injured twelve people. This follows an October gasoline pipeline explosion in Shelby County, Alabama, which killed one pipeline worker and injured five others, igniting two wildfires that burned over 30 acres of land. In April, a natural gas pipeline in Salem, Pennsylvania, operated by Spectra Energy, exploded injuring one person and damaging two homes.

Congressman Lynch’s letter highlights the dangerous and costly damage that pipeline explosions have inflicted on communities in 2016 alone. Congressman Lynch is calling on FERC and PHMSA to fully investigate these incidents to determine whether further safety measures need to be adopted prior to approving construction of high pressure natural gas lines in West Roxbury and Weymouth.

The text of Congressman Lynch’s letter is available here