Mayor, lawmakers object to $143M gas explosions settlement

SALEM, Mass. (AP) — Elected leaders in Massachusetts are demanding revisions to a plan to divide up a $143 million class action settlement from last September’s natural gas disaster.

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera and four state lawmakers have proposed a new payout plan that includes $20 million for public safety improvements in light of a recent major gas leak in Lawrence.

But utility company Columbia Gas says the settlement proposal is “not related at all” to the most recent leak.

And lawyers who filed the class action lawsuit say they “do not have the option” to reallocate funds to government agencies since they aren’t a party in the suit and have already settled their claims with Columbia Gas.

An Essex County Superior Court judge heard arguments in the case Monday and is expected to rule later.

(Copyright (c) 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)