Regarding “Safety board faces unclear future” (Page A1, Saturday), the story accurately describes the serious challenges now facing the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, the independent federal agency that investigates industrial chemical disasters.
It is very regrettable that the outgoing chairman, Vanessa Allen Sutherland, is now attempting to blame the prior management team for her own apparent inability to hire and retain CSB investigators, about 40 percent of whom have quit during her brief tenure with no replacements in sight. From 2010-15, when I was chairman, the CSB had the usual turnover of federal personnel, but all the investigators who left were promptly replaced and the agency ran at full strength.
We benefited during that time from a large roster of experienced and dedicated investigators, talented sleuths who uncovered the root causes — technical, human, and organizational — of fatal chemical accidents like those at BP Texas City, West Fertilizer and DuPont in La Porte. Many of these public servants have now fled the agency, not due to budget threats but because of current management mistreatment and a perceived indifference toward the mission.
The Trump administration should withdraw its opposition to funding the CSB and appoint new members who value root-cause investigations of industrial disasters. The safety of communities across Texas and around the country might depend on it.
Rafael Moure-Eraso, Lowell, Mass.