President Trump's recently released “America First” budget plan has drawn significant criticism from individuals on both sides of the aisle for either reducing or eliminating funding for numerous government agencies, including the departments of agriculture, state and labor, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In fact, under the proposed plan, EPA funding would be slashed by 30 percent, forcing the agency to cut 50 programs and lay off 3,200 staff positions.
Another notable casualty would be the Chemical Safety Board (CSB), an independent federal agency that conducts root cause investigations of chemical accidents at fixed industrial facilities. The CSB does not issue fines or citations, but does make recommendations to plants, regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), industry organizations, and labor groups. In a statement by CSB Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland, she expressed her disappointment in the President's proposal to eliminate the agency, reiterating that "for over 20 years, the CSB has conducted hundreds of investigations of high consequence chemical incidents, such as the Deepwater Horizon and West Fertilizer disasters," and that the CSB's "investigations and recommendations have had an enormous effect on improving public safety."