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The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee has proposed funding the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board in the 2018 fiscal year for $11 million, defying a proposal to eliminate the agency in President Trump’s budget.
The board, which has investigated incidents such as the West, Texas, fertilizer explosion that killed 15 people in April 2013 and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in which 11 perished in April 2010, was targeted for elimination by the Trump administration in March.
The proposed elimination sparked an outcry from organizations such as the Park Ridge, Illinois-based American Society of Safety Engineers, which released a statement in March in support of the board’s “critical role” in keeping U.S. workers safe as an independent, nonregulatory federal agency in charge of conducting root-cause investigations of industrial chemical incidents at fixed facilities.
The House bill would fund the board to the tune of $11 million — equal to its budget in the 2017 fiscal year.
“The full House and the Senate still need to vote on the CSB’s budget, but things are looking good,” said Jordan Barab, former deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration under the Obama administration, in his Confined Space safety and health newsletter.
A U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board report about two sulfuric acid releases at a California refinery owned by Tesoro Corp. highlighted multiple concerns about the refinery’s safety culture.