Skip to Main Content

U.S. Chemical Safety Board Bends to Trump’s Pressure

Trump Pressuring U.S. Chemical Safety Board on Plant Explosion Investigations.

Trump Administration pressure has undermined the independence of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, as its once-aggressive investigative approach has waned considerably since the President was sworn in nearly 2 years ago.

Trump’s Obvious Hostility to U.S. Chemical Safety Board

The Chemical Safety Board is charged with determining the root cause of major chemical explosions at industrial plants, pipelines, and refineries throughout the United States.

While it has no power to enact new regulations or levy fines, it’s widely acknowledged that the Board’s regulatory recommendations have not only changed the way certain industries operate, they have saved lives.

With a small staff and miniscule budget, the Chemical Safety Board has long garnered accolades for its work, and even industry groups affirm the value and importance of its mission.

Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s obvious hostility to the Board has been apparent for quite some time.

In fact, the President has moved to eliminate the Chemical Safety Board on two occasions. In a testament to its value, Trump’s Republican allies in Congress rejected both attempts

This year, some even suggested increasing the Board’s budget.

Former Board Investigator on Trump: “You Always Felt His Presence There.”

Unfortunately, the administration’s campaign against the  U.S. Chemical Safety Board  continues on another front, with several current and former investigators telling The Wall Street Journal that they’ve been pressured to ease up on investigations, as well as the resulting regulatory recommendations, since the advent of the Trump era.

“The drivers for doing investigations changed in 2017 with the new administration coming on,” said Johnnie Banks, a former Board investigator who retired in December.

Among other things, he noticed more push-back on his recommendations once Trump came to power, while his investigative reports were met with a new level of scrutiny.

“They never hung (Trump’s) picture but you always felt his presence there,” Banks added.

Exodus of Board Investigators Since Trump Took Office

The Chemical Safety Board has recently experienced a significant staff exodus, with roughly half of its investigators opting to leave since Trump was sworn in.

Those who stayed on told the Journal that they’re spending more time appealing to members of Congress to ensure that the Board’s funding remains in place.

An inspector general’s report issued in June cited a lack of budgetary certainty as a major impediment to the Chemical Safety Board’s ability to attract, hire, and retain staff.

Low Moral Plagues Remaining Board Staff

The Board’s interim director denied any suggestion that pressure from the Trump administration was undermining its independence.  She also pointed to a 2017 survey that indicated employee satisfaction had jumped 21% compared to 2016.

However, staff who spoke with The Wall Street Journal said they felt pressured to respond positively to that survey, after managers warned that the very future of the Chemical Safety Board was at stake.

What’s more, an internal survey conducted anonymously last February was filled with negativity, with at least one respondent asserting that Board employees were intimidated and reluctant to bring concerns to management.

Contact Our Undefeated Plant Explosion Lawyers for a Free Consultation by Calling 1-888-603-3636 or Click here

Having won over $1 billion, and successfully represented thousands of workers in Texas, Louisiana, and across the United States following the worst plant, refinery, and pipeline explosions in recent history, our Undefeated Plant Explosion Lawyers have the resources and experience to stand up to the largest corporations in the world and ensure our clients are fully compensated for all of their injuries and losses.

If you would like to explore your available legal options following a workplace explosion or accident, call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here to send us a confidential email through our “Contact Form.”

All questions are free, and because we represent all of our clients on a contingency-fee basis, you’ll pay nothing unless we win your case.