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Congressman Mark DeSaulnier

Representing the 11th District of California

DeSaulnier Reacts To Inspector General Finding That Chemical Safety Board Violated Sunshine Act At Richmond Board Meeting

October 16, 2015
Press Release

Washington, DC — Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) reacted to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Inspector General’s finding that the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) violated the Sunshine Act at a board meeting in Richmond, CA on January 28, 2015. The board was meeting to vote on the final report of CSB’s investigation into the 2012 Chevron Richmond Refinery Fire.

“Transparency is key to good governance. It is unacceptable for the federal agency charged with investigating chemical accidents to have violated the Sunshine Act. While the CSB, under new leadership, says it plans to take corrective action to ensure future compliance, the agency must aggressively address the overall culture of distrust, ineptitude, and misconduct undermining the critical mission of the organization,” said Congressman DeSaulnier.

According to the IG report, the meeting announcement “included a description of what CSB would present and discuss prior to the possible board vote on the final report of CSB’s investigation in the Chevron Refinery Fire. However, at a public meeting CSB passed a motion to terminate five investigations on which it had already spent over $800,000, consolidated the former Chairperson’s authority over the agency, and rescinded 18 of 46 board orders.”

“By not announcing a motion that included terminating investigations, CSB kept the public uninformed of its planned actions to end investigations, in violation of the Sunshine Act and the act’s transparency goals,” the report concluded.

Earlier this year, Congressman DeSaulnier called for the resignation of former CSB Chairman Moure-Eraso during a hearing of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform following revelations of mismanagement by the agency. At the hearing, DeSaulnier also raised concerns that the CSB may have violated the Sunshine Act. Chairman Moure-Eraso later resigned and Vanessa Allen Sutherland was appointed Chair of CSB.

A full copy of the IG’s report can be found here.