New Federal Regulations Result
from Kleen Energy Tragedy
Middletown residents will not soon forget the tragic explosion at the Kleen Energy plant construction site last year. Six people were killed and nearly 50 injured in an explosion that shook the ground and rattled windows miles away.
An investigation determined that the explosion occurred when natural gas was pumped through pipes to clean out debris. This procedure is known as a “gas blow,” and we took action in the state legislature this year to permanently ban it in Connecticut. To date, no other state has done so.
But now there is hope that this dangerous procedure may be banned nationwide as well. I joined members of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board and the National Fire Protection Association in Middletown last week as they announced a new industry standard to prohibit gas blowing of pipes at industrial plants in all 50 states.
Unfortunately, the new standard will not have the force of law until adopted by Congress or the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. I urge them to do so as soon as possible.
Following the Kleen Energy accident, the least we can do is ensure a similar tragedy does not occur elsewhere.
Veterans’ Event a Great Success
in Rocky Hill
A few weeks ago, I visited the Connecticut Veterans’ Home in Rocky Hill for the excellent “Stand Down” event. Over a thousand veterans came from all corners of Connecticut to attend seeking assistance.
The annual event offers information on free veterans’ benefits at the state and federal level, in addition to employment and education assistance, medical screenings and more. Attorneys donated their time to dispense free legal advice, and a variety of federal, state and local agencies provided assistance with food, clothing, haircuts, child support, debt adjustment, mental health treatment, financial counseling and other services.
Our nation’s military veterans have made great sacrifices to fight for and preserve the freedom that we all enjoy on a daily basis. It is a terrible shame that so many fall on hard times after leaving the service.
We must do all we can to serve our veterans in need, just as they served us. The Stand Down event helped connect hundreds of veterans to beneficial programs and other assistance. It was a pleasure to see it all happen here locally in Rocky Hill.
Continuing the Fight Against
Lead poisoning in children remains a serious environmental health issue in Connecticut. In 2009, over 700 children were reported with severe lead poisoning. Lead paint is the primary culprit. The state Department of Public Health reports that lead paint hazards have been identified in 88 percent of homes that receive a full environmental investigation.
Lead paint poisoning is particularly a problem with children from birth to six years old because their brains are still developing. The long-term effects of lead poisoning include reduced IQ levels, attention deficit disorders, hearing loss, below-average test scores and a propensity to commit violent crimes as adults. The effects are irreversible, as lead settles in your bones and never fully leaves your body.
The Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Program has been working with local health departments and grant-funded programs like the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center LAMPP Project to help prevent lead poisoning, and the results have been impressive. Since 2003, the LAMPP project alone has made over 1,300 units of housing lead-safe.
Connecticut has come a long way in the fight to eradicate lead poisoning. Our prevention programs need to remain fully funded until we have no children suffering from this entirely preventable environmental health hazard.