Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 08:19:12 -0400
Reply-To: "Wallace, Michele" <MWallace**At_Symbol_Here**COTTONINC.COM>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: "Wallace, Michele" <MWallace**At_Symbol_Here**COTTONINC.COM>
Subject: GAO report on CSB
Since there have been a couple of emails lately about the CSB, I thought
there might be some interest in this report.
See it at
I also saw SOCMA's press release on it:

Congressional Watchdog Wants EPA to Oversee Chemical Safety Board

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is urging Congress to give
the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permanent oversight of the
U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) in a report
released August 22, "Chemical Safety Board: Improvements in Management
and Oversight Are Needed.  " 

The GAO report expresses concerns that the CSB is not fulfilling its
mandate by failing to investigate "all accidental releases that have a
fatality, serious injury, substantial property damage, or the potential
for a fatality, serious injury, or substantial property damage." The GAO
states that the CSB does not investigate enough chemical accidents, nor
does it retain enough investigative staff. The GAO criticizes CSB for
not acting on GAO's earlier requests, which recommended in earlier years
that the CSB increase its number of staff, as well as devise a plan for
reporting on the accidents which it does not investigate, and develop a
regulation requiring facilities to release information about chemical

CSB spokesman Daniel Horowitz countered the GAO report, saying the
report was based on outdated audit findings and asserting that the board
was doing what it could on a static and small budget. He pointed to the
feedback CSB has received from stakeholders on issues it is currently
tackling, such as the BP plant explosion and combustible dust safety. 

The day prior to GAO's release of the report, CSB announced its plans to
open its first regional accident investigation office, in Denver. The
board is recruiting additional chemical incident investigators to staff
the office, which will provide CSB with easy access to facilities
located in Houston and the West.

SOCMA strongly opposes any EPA role as overseer of the CSB, which was
established to maintain objectivity in its investigation of chemical
accidents independent from enforcement agencies, such as the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration and EPA. SOCMA will be
issuing letters to Capitol Hill, urging Congressional leaders to
thoroughly scrutinize the GAO's recommendation before acting hastily. 

For more information, read the full GAO report
  or contact Sarah Mechum


Michele L. Wallace 

Associate Director, Textile Chemistry and Finishing Research, NRCC-CHO 
Cotton Incorporated 
Phone: 919-678-2417 
Email:  MWallace**At_Symbol_Here** 


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