AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas House passed two bills Friday morning aimed at keeping people from being killed in natural gas explosions.
State Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas), who is Chairman of the House Energy Resources Committee, was wearing a purple ribbon in honor of the late Linda “Michellita” Rogers when House Bill 864 and House Bill 866 were passed on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives.
Chairman Anchia introduced the bills in direct response to the February 23, 2018 gas explosion in Dallas that took the life of 12-year-old girl.
House Bill 864 ensures operators (gas companies) notify the Texas Railroad Commission within one hour of incidents that result in injuries, property damage or significant unintentional gas loss and specifies what information must be provided. Additionally, this legislation mandates the Texas Railroad Commission retain this information indefinitely.
House Bill 866 requires operators remove and replace all cast iron pipeline material in their system by December 31, 2021, increase the replacement of pipelines posing the greatest risk each year, and develop a risk-based program for pipeline removal and replacement.
“It is important that Michellita’s life was not lost in vain. After witnessing her parents go through this excruciating experience, I vowed to pass this legislation to reduce the risk of another young life being cut short in this way.
“This legislation will increase transparency, improve safety, and provide accountability in order to reduce the risk of deadly gas explosions in our state. It will make our communities safer and will save lives.”
Atmos Energy said heavy rains and shifting soil caused the natural gas explosion that claimed the life of Linda Rogers last February.
The bills now go to the Texas Senate for consideration.