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On Tenth Anniversary of the Tragedy, Rep. Courtney Leads Resolution to Commemorate Lives Lost in Kleen Energy Explosion

February 7, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) led the Connecticut House Delegation in introducing a resolution to commemorate the six lives lost in the explosion at the Kleen Energy Systems power plant in Middletown, Connecticut. The tragedy occurred on the morning of Sunday, February 7, 2010 – ten years ago today.

“Ten years ago, a group of hard-working people in Middletown, Connecticut headed to work at the Kleen Energy power plant, and did not go home that evening to their friends and families,” said Congressman Courtney. “The horrifying natural gas explosion that occurred that Sunday morning took the lives of six – including my dear friend, Ron Crabb – and it injured dozens more. Nothing can ever make up for the loss of life that occurred in that tragedy, but we have a responsibility as a community and as a Congress to ensure that we do more to protect America’s workers. For my friend Ron Crabb, whose memory I hold closely, and for everyone in our eastern Connecticut community who was impacted by this terrible tragedy, I was proud to introduce this commemorative resolution today.”

To read the full resolution, click here.

The resolution was introduced by Rep. Courtney, and was co-sponsored by Reps. John Larson (CT-01), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Jim Himes (CT-04), and Jahana Hayes (CT-05). In addition to commemorating the lives of Peter Chepulis, Ronald Crabb, Raymond Dobratz, Kenneth Haskell, Roy Rushton, and Vance Walters – the six workers who were lost in the tragedy – the resolution states that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found “willful” violations of safety protocol that led to the explosion, and that the fines assessed as a result of these violations paled in comparison to the value of the lives lost and the public resources that had to be expended to rescue the injured, investigate causes, and clean up the damage. The resolution also calls upon Congress to update and strengthen the more than 50-year old Occupational Safety and Health Act to better prevent future disasters and hold employers accountable for violations of safety law.

To achieve these goals, last year, on the ninth anniversary of the tragedy at the Kleen Energy power plant, Rep. Courtney reintroduced H.R. 1074, the Protecting America’s Workers Act. H.R. 1074 would strengthen and modernize the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHAct) by giving the Occupational Health and Safety Administration tools to ensure that employers promptly recognize hazardous working conditions, and hold employers accountable for violations that cause illness, death, or serious injuries to workers. OSHAct has not been meaningfully updated since it was passed in 1970.

On Sunday, Rep. Courtney will provide remarks at a memorial service in Middletown to mark the 10th year since the deadly blast. For more information, please contact Patrick Cassidy at Patrick.Cassidy@mail.house.gov.
 

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