CSB commends Connecticut House of Representatives for passing Bill prohibiting natural gas blows at power plants

Published:  23 May, 2011

Read the statement by CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso.

Today I wish to commend the Connecticut General Assembly’s House of Representatives for unanimously passing a bill to permanently ban the deadly practice of using flammable gases to blow out debris and clean gas piping.  The CSB had found that a series of natural gas blows led to a February 7, 2010, explosion at Kleen Energy natural gas electric generation plant, which was under construction in Middletown, Connecticut, fatally injuring six workers and injuring at least 50 others.

This bill would set an example for the rest of the country. It was heartening to see that it passed unanimously and I look forward to final passage of the bill in the Senate and its signing by the Governor.

The tragedy at Kleen Energy was preventable, and that’s why the CSB earlier made a formal recommendation to Connecticut and others to ban the practice. The CSB concluded that using gas blows to clean piping is inherently unsafe, and should no longer be permitted in the construction of power plants. 

I wish to reiterate my call for the banning of natural gas blows by other states, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and organizations that set voluntary standards. It is important the practice be done away with in order to save lives.

During our investigation of Kleen Energy, the CSB found that 125 or more natural gas fueled power plants are anticipated to come online over the next five years. In many of these instances, new or refitted plants may opt to use gas blows despite the inherent dangers, simply because gas is conveniently available. Therefore, ending the practice of natural gas blows has the potential to prevent future tragedies such as that which occurred at Kleen Energy.

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