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Ex-Transportation Czar To Oversee Safety Efforts Of Columbia Gas' Parent

The utility company blamed for September's natural gas explosions and fires in Massachusetts is enlisting former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to oversee its safety efforts.

NiSource said Thursday that the former Republican congressman from Illinois will chair a new board charged with reviewing the company's rollout of a new safety management system across the seven states it serves.

Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. (AP)
Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. (AP)

The Indiana-based company said the new system will provide a structured and consistent way to identify and reduce risk.

Federal investigators have said the company's Massachusetts subsidiary, Columbia Gas, lacked internal procedures that could have prevented the Sept. 13 disaster.

Overpressurization during a routine pipeline replacement project led to the death of one person, dozens of injuries, hundreds of damaged buildings and thousands of customers without natural gas service for months.

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