14:02 GMT19 June 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A US court fined Columbia Gas, the company responsible for a 2018 explosion in the state of Massachusetts that killed one person and injured 22, $53 million, the Justice Department said in a press release on Tuesday.

    “Company to sell its business in Massachusetts and pay $53 million fine, the largest criminal fine ever imposed under the Pipeline Safety Act”, the release said.

    In February 2020, the company agreed to plead guilty to violating a minimum safety standard of the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act relating to the failure to implement procedures to prevent the over-pressurization of its low-pressure gas distribution system, the release added.

    According to the release, the fine imposed by federal court Judge Dennis Saylor represents twice the amount of the Columbia Gas profits earned between 2015 and 2018 as part of a pipeline infrastructure program called the Gas System Enhancement Plan.

    In addition, the court imposed a three-year period of probation on the company, until it is sold to a qualified buyer, the release said.

    Tags:
    gas, Columbia, US Justice Department, United States
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