“A 12-year-old girl was blown up while sleeping in her home,” Anchia said. “An entire community is grieving and we must never let this happen again. My proposals would increase transparency and public safety and hold bad actors accountable.”
The child’s home sat in the lawmaker’s district.
Many of the Democrat’s proposals seek to fix problems identified in an investigation by
One bill would give Atmos and other gas companies 72 hours to alert neighbors after a leak is discovered in their neighborhood. Companies would have to give written notice in both English and Spanish. There’s no such requirement now.
Another measure would require gas companies to publish online maps showing the exact location of leaks. Currently, gas companies must file reports with the state every six months listing where leaks were discovered and repaired, but most people don’t even know that information exists.
The News’ investigation began after Linda died in the
Reports showed a gas leak was discovered behind her home nearly two months before her house exploded. Her death is still under federal investigation. The News’ reporting found that leaking natural gas lines operated by
Another bill would force companies to speed up replacement of leak-prone pipe — cast iron, wrought iron and bare steel — by
Last year, Atmos began replacing pipelines in a large swath of northwest
An Atmos spokeswoman said the company needed time to review the specific language in the bills, but looked forward to “working with
Also, Atmos said this week that it wants to charge
Some of Anchia’s reform measures have been suggested before, only to be repeatedly rejected by lawmakers. For instance, one bill would simply rename the
Another Anchia bill would limit when the agency’s three elected commissioners can accept campaign contributions. For example, they couldn’t take money from companies with a contested case before the commission.
“Perception is very important — we need our citizens to feel like things are being run on the up and up,” said Nichols, a Republican who represents 19 counties in
Will 2019 be any different? It’s hard to say.
Nichols said that he hadn’t read all of Anchia’s bills, but that he still supports the name change and the campaign donation limits.
“We always care about public safety, whether it be pipelines, highways, whatever,” he said. It’s a question of tradeoffs, he added — weighing any extra burden and costs of such proposals against the potential benefits.
“We have to make choices,” Nichols said.
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