Importance of the Chemical Safety Board

“Over its 20-year history, the Chemical Safety Board has investigated more than 150 explosions, fires, and spills at chemical plants and oil refineries.

Included are the 2012 Chevron refinery fire in Richmond, California, which drove about 15,000 people to seek medical care, and the 2013 West Fertilizer Co. explosion in Texas, where 15 people, including 12 emergency responders, died and 350 homes were damaged or destroyed.

Similar to the National Transportation Safety Board, which probes airplane, ship, and railroad accidents, the Chemical Safety Board has no regulatory authority and does not issue fines or prosecute companies. But its findings often point to problems that other agencies may act upon: It has issued 815 recommendations designed to prevent tragedies at oil and chemical plants.

Established by Congress in the wake of two chemical plant explosions in Texas that killed or injured more than 350 workers, the board has a staff of 35 and a budget of $11 million a year — minuscule compared with other federal agencies. For the next fiscal year, the House has proposed $12 million in funding, while the Senate has proposed $11 million.”

“For example, after the Texas fertilizer plant explosion, the Obama administration enacted safety measures requiring more detailed public reporting of chemical hazards and improved safety training. But under President Donald Trump, former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt moved to rescind most of the new rules, saying they would cost the industry too much — an estimated $88 million a year — and could make public information about chemical plants that would be useful to terrorists.

Moure-Eraso said the board’s highly technical investigations are not duplicated by federal regulatory agencies, which “obviously have failed to prevent some major chemical accidents.”

The EPA inspector general’s office under the Trump administration appears to agree. In a June report, the office said the board’s work complements other agencies’ work because “the root causes of an incident go beyond whether there was a violation of a regulation.””

All quotes are from this article. Personally I wish they wouldn’t focus on it being attacked by Trump because that immediately turns a lot of people against the article and they won’t even read it. There’s some really really important information here.

The photo is copied from the grist article link below.

Grist article on the importance of the chemical safety board and the need to refund it

Grist Article on the Importance of the Chemical Safety Board

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