The Massachusetts State Auditor on Thursday reported lax oversight by the Department of Telecommunications and Energy (DTE) of the state’s 20 peak shaving and satellite liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facilities. The facilities, which are a various locations around the state, hold about 9.5 Bcf of natural gas and can deliver a total of 1 Bcf/d.

In a statement on the audit, auditor Joe DeNucci said the DTE has agreed to improve its oversight of safety procedures as a result of the findings. DeNucci found that DTE was not enforcing its requirements that operators of LNG plants develop and submit fire study and prevention plans, evacuation plans and annual operator training reports.

The audit also found widely varying amounts of cooperation between LNG operators and local fire and police officials, despite state regulations that require LNG facilities to work with local officials in preparing and updating evacuation and training plans annually. DeNucci also disclosed that 18 out of the 20 LNG plants had not been inspected on a timely basis.

“This is a critically important public safety issue,” said DeNucci. “I urge the [DTE] to continue to strengthen its oversight of LNG facilities for the protection of our residences.”

As a result, DTE has agreed to take corrective action and stated that it would amend its procedures to make certain that each LNG facility would be inspected at least once every two years and to ensure that operators have adequate safety and training plans.

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