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    Daily Tribune

    State Rep. Jim Townsend (D-Royal Oak) is calling on utility companies, cities and the Michigan Public Service Commission to work together to determine the best way to replace more than 3,100 miles of aging iron pipes carrying natural gas across Michigan.

    A Feb. 27 explosion that killed a Royal Oak man, destroyed one home ...


    Six employees of JJ’s Restaurant filed suit seeking damages for injuries suffered when the Kansas City restaurant was destroyed by an explosion linked to a gas leak, KSHB reports.

    The suit, filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, lists as defendants Missouri Gas Energy Co., MGE employee Michael Pailer, contractor Heartland Midwest LLC, Time Warner Cable Media Inc., Missouri One Call System Inc. and USIC Locating Services Inc.

    The Kansas City Star

    State utilities regulators drafted legislation three years ago aimed at lessening the chances of explosions like the one that leveled a Country Club Plaza-area restaurant last month.

    But the Missouri Public Service Commission’s bill got nowhere.

    Business interests and staff officials couldn’t agree on how best to reduce damage to underground utility lines. Some felt the state’s proposal didn’t go far enough to prevent accidental gas line hits, while others complained it was overly bureaucratic.

    Without consensus on any of the key points, the bill had virtually no chance of passing the Missouri General Assembly.

    “We just realized that we were facing an uphill challenge,” said Robert Clayton, chairman the Missouri Public Service Commission at the time. “It just kind of died out without having enough support.”

    No one can say whether some of the suggested changes in the excavation laws would have prevented the gas leak that led to the Feb. 19 explosion at JJ’s.

    But for Clayton, now a judge on the Missouri Court of Appeals, the failed initiative remains doubly frustrating. Not only did he personally lead the effort, but he also has ties to the tragedy in Kansas City.

    “My first year of law school, I lived right across the street from JJ’s restaurant,” he said.

    Moreover, the University of Missouri-Kansas City graduate knew the JJ’s waitress who died in the Feb. 19 explosion, which injured 15 others.

    “Megan (Cramer) and I were in law school together,” Clayton said, pausing to consider that eerie coincidence. “Those things are very troubling.”

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