The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) published a meeting notice in Monday’s Federal Register (on-line today; 80 FR 32339) for a public meeting to be held on June 18th, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Board will discuss the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published last month concerning proposed changes to Board governance.
This meeting is unusual because it is taking place after the comment period for the NPRM closes on June 12th. If this is going to be a discussion by the Board about the public comments it will be one of the first times (actually the only one that I know of) that a Federal agency has taken this portion of the rulemaking public. I’m not entirely sure that this is a good thing because, like making sausage, much of the rulemaking process probably should take place behind closed doors because it can get ugly.
On the other hand, we have not been able to look at the public comments received to-date on the NPRM because the Board did not use the Federal eRulemaking Portal to receive and publish those comments. I would like to think that they will post the comments on the CSB web site before the meeting on the 18th.
On a separate note, the timing of this notice is interesting because yesterday I received an email from a long time reader of this blog complaining about on-going problems within the CSB. Nothing that I can go public with at this point, but suffice to say that there are a number of Washington insiders that don’t think that all of the Board’s problems have been solved by removing Dr. Rafael Moure-Eraso.
On a different rumor note, I have heard that Vanessa Allen Sutherland was not the President’s first pick to be Chair of the CSB. Rumor has it that the first pick, Scott Berger, was vetoed by a chemical industry union. Berger has a background in chemical safety and Sutherland is a lawyer. Nothing specifically wrong with lawyers in government agencies, but CSB probably should be more of a technical person.