U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s Proposed Budget Confirms New Regulations Are Coming

Legal Alert

Last month, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board must issue regulations within one year setting forth reporting requirements for accidental releases of hazardous substances into the ambient air. That case is Air Alliance Houston, et al. v. U.S. Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board, No. 17-cv-02608 (D.D.C. Feb. 4, 2019), and more information can be found here. The Board’s recent budget request confirms that it is planning to issue these regulations within one year.

According to its 2020 budget request, issued on March 11, 2019, the Board “will undertake a rulemaking proceeding during [the 2020] fiscal year, with the goal to satisfy the court’s order.” Describing the process as a “significant undertaking” that will necessitate “substantial funds,” the Board said it would design a database system to receive incident reports and issue regulations for submitting reports to the database. The Board anticipated dedicating $350,000 for personnel and consultancy costs to complete the project within one year and $50,000 in ongoing annual costs to support the database, according to the budget request.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Government’s 2020 federal budget proposes eliminating the Board. This is the third straight year in which the federal budget has included a proposal to close out the Board; each time Congress has rejected that proposal.

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