January 16 2019

Burlington Selectmen Lift Moratorium on National Grid Gas Projects

By: Rich Hosford

Burlington’s moratorium on all non-emergency gas work by National Grid has been lifted.


The Burlington Board of Selectmen voted unanimously on Monday to lift the moratorium after a long-awaited deal between the gas company and its union workers was reached last week.


As reported by BNEWS, the moratorium was originally put in place in September after Steelworkers Union Local 12012/4 spoke during citizen’s time at a prior meeting to raise concerns held by many union members. They contested that the fill-in employees working on the gas lines lacked the experience for the potentially dangerous work and that the company was unable at the time to provide the necessary oversight and supervision.


At the warnings of the workers, and with the recent gas line explosions in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, the board voted to put the moratorium on all non-emergency work in town.


This week they lifted that moratorium but that does not mean projects, many of them stalled by the worker lockout, can begin right away. Town Administrator John Petrin explained that while the moratorium may be lifted the town has bylaws restricting the cutting of town roadways during the winter months that would limit most gas line work.


“The town still has times you can’t cut into pavement,” he said. “During the winter months, for example, we do not allow road cuts this time of year. So even though you have lifted the moratorium people can’t just make cuts.”


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