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Letter: Safety is top priority of natural gas industry


Thursday, October 04, 2018

It is understandable that people are asking questions about the safety of natural gas systems after the tragic events in Massachusetts’ Merrimack Valley, and specifically about how they relate to other systems and proposed projects such as Granite Bridge. But it is important to focus on facts and not unfounded assertions. As the trade association representing natural gas utilities and transmission companies throughout the Northeast, our most important message is: Every second of every day, safety is our highest priority. What happened in the Merrimack Valley was a tragic, unprecedented event, and we as an industry are committed to learning everything we can about what happened, doing everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, and using this event to redouble our industry-wide commitment to safety.

The assertions made by Chris Balch (Monitor letters, Sept. 17) regarding pipeline safety are simply not based in fact. Throughout the United States, natural gas systems, like Granite Bridge, move fuel safely and reliably every day. Simply put, the Granite Bridge project represents safe, proven, dependable infrastructure.

Granite Bridge would be constructed to the highest regulatory standards. It would be thoroughly inspected and tested before coming online. Every weld along the entire line would be x-rayed and would be tested fully to ensure proper construction before transporting any natural gas.

Natural gas is the leading fuel for both home heating and power generation in New England. There are more than 125,000 natural gas customers in New Hampshire and 73 million natural gas customers in the United States. The safe delivery of natural gas to all these customers remains the industry priority.

TOM KILEY

Needham, Mass.

(The writer is president and CEO of the Northeast Gas Association.)