With a compromise climate policy bill still under negotiation and time winding down in the legislative session, gas workers and nearly 50 lawmakers have been pushing to get new pipeline safety provisions enshrined into law.

"With limited time left in this unusual legislative session, the climate change bill in conference offers the best opportunity for us to accomplish significant improvements on a pressing public safety issue," the bipartisan group of 46 lawmakers wrote in a letter sent in October. Recent lobbying efforts have focused on the same topics.

Specifically, the letter asks that the climate change conference report include a mechanism for the Department of Public Utilities to have more oversight of contractors performing work on or around gas lines, an extension of whistleblower protections for public utility workers, increased fines for violations of DPU's safety and emergency preparedness regulations, and more.

The lawmakers said the provisions they hope will be included in a compromise climate bill include "elements of comprehensive gas safety legislation which were reported out of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy with a favorable recommendation."

Gas safety measures have been given a fresh look amid attempts to shore up the safety of natural gas infrastructure after the gas explosions and fires that killed one man, razed several homes and destroyed property across Lawrence, Andover and North Andover in September 2018.

In January, Gov. Charlie Baker proposed to sharply increase the fines his administration can assess on companies that do work on or near natural gas pipelines and to make utilities establish a timeline for replacing leak-prone pipes. Many of those proposals were included in the House's climate bill that has been the subject of conference committee talks since early August.

A company contracted by the Baker administration to examine the safety of natural gas infrastructure in the wake of the Merrimack Valley disaster, Dynamic Risk Assessment Systems Inc., wrote in a report last year that found Massachusetts's gas distribution system is "generally reliable" but is made up of a high proportion of leak-prone pipes, mains, and services made out of cast iron, wrought iron or unprotected steel.