Monday, September 12, 2022

Reader Comment – EPA IG Reports on CSB Leadership and Management Issues

Yesterday, Rosearray, a long-time reader of this blog, left a comment on my Saturday ‘Short Takes’ post, presumably in response to the link to editorial about problems at the Chemical Safety Board. Richard provided a link to an EPA Inspector General report published this last week about management problems at the CSB.

The IG’s report provides a straightforward discussion about the personnel vacancy issues that plague the board. Interestingly, the report keys in on the management team vacancies, but glosses over the fact that there are currently only two Board members on what is supposed to be a five-member board. The problem with Board vacancies dates back to the Trump Administration’s attempts to defund the Board. While Congress over road Trumps efforts, they could not force Trump to nominate Board members.

The lack of a full Board, or any indication that Biden intends to appoint a full Board, certainly makes it harder to hire on a management team. The inadequately filled management team makes it near impossible for the Board to solve its other problems, including the inability to complete investigations.

Congress has been doing its part. It has continued to provide funds for the empty personnel positions. President Biden needs to appoint three new Board members to fill out the Board. And he needs to nominate folks that will be able to be confirmed in a potentially Republican controlled Senate. That means easing back on the personnel with an environmental advocacy background (see the two current members) and appointing professionals with a background in chemical processing and chemical safety. They do not necessarily have a commercial chemistry background, but they should have strong grounding in the nuts and bolts of chemical manufacturing.

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