Answers are coming - but it'll take a while longer for them to be made public.  Investigators reviewing the cause(s) of the Husky Refinery explosion that happened in April 2018 have suggested that their final report should be ready "during fiscal year 2022".

The United States Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has struggled with completing their investigation of the April 26, 2018 incident in the years since it occurred for a variety of reasons.  According to an article in the Superior Telegram, the delay has been caused by "years of [the agency] being on the chopping block for funding and having only one board member".

It's worth noting that the Husky Refinery investigation isn't the only open case for the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board; it is one of it's oldest, though.  "Of the....18 open investigations, the Superior refinery explosion is the fourth-oldest open investigation".

Explosion Reported At Husky Oil Refinery In Superior, Wisconsin
Getty Images

As part of the original timeline, the final review of the Husky Refinery explosion was expected to be released "in spring or summer 2019".  Obviously, that release hasn't happened.

While that report hasn't been available, the agency has made steps towards its completion; it's also provided commentary about the potential cause(s) along the way:

"In the days following the blast, the Chemical Safety Board said where the blast likely happened: the fluid catalytic cracking unit. And in August 2018, the board visited Superior to provide an update on the cause: a worn valve that allowed air and chemicals to mix and spontaneously ignite."

Further investigative steps and commentary continued after that.  In December 2018, the Chemical Safety Board "released information blaming company safeguards that did not consider the worn valve and were "ineffective" at preventing the blast".

At the same time, the agency held a  town hall meeting in Superior.  Many residents attended.  At that meeting, the consensus from the general public was a concern over the use of hydrogen fluoride - "a highly toxic chemical".  While the refinery did use the chemical as part of its processing, none of that chemical was released at the time of the explosion.

Husky Refinery in Superior, WI
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

Finally - in April 2019 - around the time of the anniversary of the explosion, the Chemical Safety Board called on the Environmental Protection Agency to "re-examine its existing hydrogen fluoride regulations".

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Even as the investigation continues and approaches a wrap-up point, construction crews on site continue the rebuilding process.  Company officials are looking towards a restart of operations at some point during first quarter of 2023.  "Husky Energy, which owned the refinery at the time of the explosion and fire, has since been purchased by Cenovus Energy".

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