US Chemical Safety Board Controversies Continue

The CSB studies chemical safety accidents, such as the 2013 explosion at the West, Texas fertilizer plant, and develop new safety measures.

The controversies at the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB), which investigates US chemical accidents, continue. On June 22, Vanessa Sutherland abruptly resigned her job as the CSB’s chairperson and officially fired managing director Daniel Horowitz from his post.

Horowitz had been on paid administrative leave since June 2015 over accusations of mismanagement and leadership deficiencies. According to public sources, Sutherland’s sudden action shocked Horowitz. He has said the three-year delay in his termination speaks to the ‘feebleness’ of the charges against him and that he and his lawyers had tried to settle the matter multiple times, but their proposals were rebuffed. He has appealed his removal to the federal civil service court, and still wants to be reinstated as the CSB’s managing director.

The agency’s previous chairman, Rafael Moure-Eraso, was forced to resign over mismanagement allegation in March 2015, amid congressional and White House pressure. Moure-Eraso who was never prosecuted, provoked a backlash simply by pushing for significant safety changes in chemical industry practices. In addition to these personnel issues, President Trump has twice proposed to defund the agency.

Currently Kristen Kulinowski, who has served on the CSB since August 2015, is filling in as the agency’s ‘interim executive authority’.

Posted by Helen Gillespie

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