Trump Budget to Again Propose End of Chemical Safety Board, Source Says

(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration’s budget proposal will again call for eliminating the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, an independent federal agency that investigates major industrial accidents, according to a person familiar with the plan.

The board, with an annual budget of just $12 million, was informed by the White House Office of Management and Budget, of the plans, according to the person, a senior government official who wasn’t authorized to discuss the budget proposal before its release next week.

Calls to kill the agency have been previously ignored by Congress and likely will be again. The board’s budget was increased by $1 million as part of a spending bill signed into law by Trump last month.

The request marks the third time President Donald Trump has proposed eliminating the independent board, which is charged with finding the causes of industrial disasters and recommending ways to prevent them. Among the incidents it has investigated is BP Plc’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig blowout in 2010 and a chemical spill that tainted drinking water for hundreds of thousands of West Virginian residents in 2014.

“It’s a remarkably stupid move,” said Mike Wright, the United Steelworkers’ director of health, safety and environment. “In my opinion they are one of the best bargains in Washington.”

Representatives of the Chemical Safety Board and the White House Office of Management and Budget did not a return a request for comment. In its last budget request the administration said the safety board’s work duplicated that of other agencies and that its previous focus on greater regulation had “frustrated both regulators and industry.”

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