As Critics Press for Action, Chem Safety Board Investigations Languish

With a tiny budget, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board is coming under fire for slowness in completing investigations on a large number of major accidents involving chemical hazards.

"On April 2, 2010, an explosion at the Tesoro Corp. oil refinery in Anacortes, Wash., killed five workers instantly and severely burned two others, who succumbed to their wounds.

Eighteen days later, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig blew up in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and unleashing a massive oil spill.

In both cases, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board – an independent agency modeled after the National Transportation Safety Board – launched investigations. Like the NTSB, the Chemical Safety Board is supposed to follow such probes with recommendations aimed at preventing similar tragedies.

Yet three years after Tesoro and Deepwater Horizon, both inquiries remain open -- exemplars of a chemical board under attack for what critics call its sluggish investigative pace and short attention span. A former board member calls the agency 'grossly mismanaged.'"

Jim Morris reports for the Center for Public Integrity April 17, 2013.

Source: Center for Public Integrity, 04/18/2013