Commission Recommends Oversight of Gas Purging Process


A governor's commission has been investigation the Kleen Energy power plant explosion that killed six men and recommends oversight of the process that caused the blast.

The explosion was caused by the process used to clean pipes, an investigating commission has found. They have set forth recommendations for the next commission responsible for actually recommending changes in law or regulations to prevent future tragedies.

Governor M. Jodi Rell ordered a commission to investigate the February tragedy that happened as workers cleaned a natural gas pipeline using large quantities of natural gas in Middletown and it came into contact with an ignition source.

The report was released on Thursday. You can read the entire report here.

While the plant construction was heavily regulated, no agency regulated the actual process for gas purging, the commission found.

The commission recommends that the next commission, called the Thomas Commission, determine whether any state or federal agency has a regulatory structure for the process known as “gas blowing,” consult with experts on types of gas blowing and the advantages and disadvantages of each and impose safety conditions.

The commission also recommended licensing, credentials or training for people who will carry out the gas blowing and a notification procedure for when gas blowing happens.

Other suggestions include that an agency act as a “clearinghouse” for other agencies responsible for building a power plant and that a coordination council of state agencies be assembled to share information when a large power facility is built.

The next step in the investigation is for the Thomas Commission to recommend specific legislation or regulations.

The permit for the Kleen Energy facility expires on Nov. 30 and the company would have to apply to renew or extend its permit.

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