Mass. gas fires

Firefighters from Kingston, N.H., battle a blaze in North Andover, Mass., on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018.

"This can’t happen again,’’ U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan told federal officials last week at a hearing on a disastrous natural gas pipeline explosion that rocked Lawrence, Mass., in September.

Hassan was making the point that in fact such an event CAN still happen, in part because recent federal safety mandates have yet to be enacted. She told the head of a federal agency that it is way behind on rules implementation.

She asked for, and got, a commitment to meet the congressional mandates and would share findings of the Columbia Gas investigation with states.

We have heard such promises before, so it is incumbent on Sen. Hassan, as well as New Hampshire state officials, to stay on the issue. For instance, one possible cause for the Lawrence explosion was that a fully certified professional engineer was not supervising a pipeline project on the day of the accident that killed one young man, destroyed homes and displaced many.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is calling for a new state law with such a requirement. Are New Hampshire regulators confident that engineers are in place here?

We will give Sen. Hassan credit for bearing down on the issue rather than grandstanding like some of her colleagues, who seemed more interested in the pay of utility brass.

It may be that Hassan’s experience as a governor has her better prepared to look at the nuts and bolts of such an issue.