Washington, DC, January 8, 2010 – As part of an ongoing effort to increase transparency and promote public understanding of the agency’s work, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) today began publishing voting records of the Board and copies of Board orders that govern agency operations.
The CSB released board voting records dating from November 10, 2009, to the present and posted dozens of board orders on its website, CSB.gov. The information presents the views of the board members on issues considered by the agency, including report drafts, closure of safety recommendations, and budgetary matters. Other votes posted to the web site are related to internal CSB operations. Most of the voting records concern written, or notational, votes of the Board which are primarily used to handle routine agency matters. In addition the Board members vote at public meetings, particularly those concerning major investigation reports and safety recommendations.
Making this information available to the general public acts upon a request from a November 10, 2009, letter to the CSB from U.S. Representative George Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, and U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. In addition, the initiative is designed to help implement President Obama’s Open Government Directive, issued in December 2009, which promotes government-wide “transparency, participation, and collaboration” with the public.
“The CSB is committed to conducting more of its business in public meetings and making additional information on agency operations and activities readily available to the American public,” said CSB Chairman John Bresland. “We will continue to add agency information to our website in an effort to improve the public’s understanding of the Board’s decisions.”
Chairman Bresland said that by early February 2010, the agency plans to release additional voting information, and that the Board also is planning to continue to hold public meetings on a number of its investigations this year.
The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.
The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Please visit our website, www.csb.gov.
For more information, please contact Hillary Cohen at (202) 261-3601 or (202) 446-8094 cell or Dr. Daniel Horowitz at (202) 261-7613 or (202) 441-6074 cell.