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CSB calls for nationwide ban on natural gas blows (5/23)

May 23, 2011
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The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) hopes Connecticut’s ban on natural gas blows at power plants will “set an example for the rest of the country,” according to a statement released last week.

The Connecticut General Assembly’s House of Representatives recently passed a bill banning the practice of using flammable gases to blow out debris and clean gas piping.

“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,” said CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso, who called on other states and OSHA to follow Connecticut's lead.

An investigation by the CSB determined that the 2010 explosion at the Kleen Energy natural gas electric generation plant which was under construction in Middletown, Connecticut, was caused by a series of natural gas blows. Six workers were killed and at least 50 others were injured in the February 7 blast.

“The tragedy at Kleen Energy was preventable,” said Moure-Eraso, who called on other states and OSHA to ban natural gas blows. “It is important the practice be done away with in order to save lives.” More than 125 natural gas fueled power plants are scheduled to come online over the next five years. Because of the availability of gas, many are expected to use gas blows despite the inherent dangers.

A video on the Kleen Energy investigation is available at: www.csb.gov.

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