DALLAS - State lawmakers hope to send a message to utility companies by honoring a Dallas girl who was killed in a natural gas explosion.
The explosion that killed 12-year-old Linda “Michellita” Rogers last year was the third natural gas-related incident in three days in her northwest Dallas neighborhood.
State lawmaker Rafael Anchia serves her district and is using the incident to call attention to what he believes is under-regulation of natural gas companies. He has sponsored legislation that calls for more oversight of Atmos Energy and requires old pipelines to be replaced.
Rep. Anchia is also behind the push to honor Michellita at the Texas Capitol.
“I’m gonna be passing out purple ribbons. Purple was her favorite color. I’m going to be passing out these purple ribbons to legislators on the House floor,” he said.
A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board stated that Atmos had detected leaks in the neighborhood but did not inform anyone living there.
The Rogers said they had no warning signs. They are now suing Atmos for wrongful death.
According to the Dallas company’s website, it is one of the country’s largest natural gas-only distributors. Atmos Energy Corporation serves more than three million customers.