With the second oldest natural gas delivery system in the nation, Massachusetts has a problem: its cast iron pipes (those most vulnerable to deterioration) leak more than 8 billion cubic feet of methane a year. Frustratingly, the sources are identifiable; more than 20,000 known leaks exist throughout the pipeline system. However, according to public safety experts, environmental leaders, and front line workers who toil for our utility companies, the gas industry has failed to focus enough resources to upgrade, repair, or replace the leaking cast iron pipes. The concerns of inaction are numerous and public safety is at the forefront; something must be done to prevent property damage and any loss of life. The Massachusetts Public Shade Tree Trust, which works with cities and towns to identify leaks near dead and dying trees, estimates that there is more than $15 billion of damage to tress across the Commonwealth caused by natural gas leaks. If ignored these costs are compounded by the fact that the damaged trees become more likely to topple and cause greater damage to homes and personal property. For these reasons Jim is a proud to have co-sponsored House Bill 3051, An Act Relative to Natural Gas Leaks. This legislation will establish a Natural Gas Leak Classification Standard for utilities as a way to identify the seriousness of a leak and put leaks on an appropriate schedule for repair. Jim recently testified in favor of this legislation along with fire fighters and utility workers who experience the dangers of these gas leaks every day. Also testifying was Jim’s friend and colleague, Representative Lori Erhlich, the lead sponsor for the legislation, and environmental leader, Jan Schlichtmann, who gained prominence for his role in exposing the environmental damage caused to humans from water contamination in Anderson v. Cryovac,highlighted in the movie, “A Civil Action.” Learn more at www.naturalgaswatch.org.