Boston city councilors expressed anger over National Grid not attending a hearing about the city’s emergency plan for a natural gas-related crisis. This week’s meeting was intended to address the potential for an event similar to the gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley. However, the company did not want to attend while it negotiates with its unions.
City Councilor Matt O’Malley called for the hearing saying it was important that Boston has a plan in place. National Grid sent O’Malley a letter on why they would not attend the meeting.
The letter read the company did “not believe it will be effective or useful to engage with our unions in public debate.” However, National Grid said they would engage with the councilors.
“We have informed the council in response to its invitation, that we are available to meet with members of the City Council to discuss gas safety. However, our goal is to come to an agreement with the two unions,” the letter said.
However, the councilors were not impressed by the letter and the company’s lack of effort.
“The letter they sent was disrespectful,” said Councilor Ed Flynn. “They should be here with us today. We take public safety seriously. This is about public safety.”
“It is disappointing but not surprising they are not here today,” said O’Malley.
Other councilors suggested they subpoena National Grid to attend another meeting.
Eversource also did not attend the meeting even though they were invited to do so.
Locked out National Grid workers and union leaders were in attendance. Many of them fear what happened in the Merrimack Valley in September could easily occur in Boston.
“I hate to say this but the way it looks right now, it’s not a matter of if another house is going to explode,” President of Steelworkers Local 12003 Joe Kirylo said. “It’s when.”
The gas explosions in the communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover killed one person and caused at least 70 fires and explosions. Almost 50 miles of pipeline needs to be replaced and to this day some residents still don’t have gas.