GOP reps call for ‘immediate change’ at chemical board

Six Republican House members sent a letter Monday asking President Obama for immediate changes in the leadership of the Chemical Safety Board (CSB), following a June hearing in which Democrats joined them in calling for the board’s chairman to resign.

The representatives included House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). They reiterated sharp criticisms that many representatives told CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso at the June Oversight Committee hearing, which itself followed an investigation by both committees.

“The joint investigation found that under Chairman Moure-Eraso, CSB leadership engaged in a pattern of hostility toward career staff and whistleblowers who reported concerns to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel,” the congressmen wrote. The CSB investigates major chemical incidents and makes recommendations to prevent them.

At the hearing, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) told the chairman he had “serious questions about your fitness to hold your job.” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said “it is clear that there are serious management problems that need to be addressed,” and Issa declared “you have failed in your requirement to be a chief executive.”

The Monday letter said “immediate change in CSB leadership is necessary to allow this besieged agency to heal and regain focus on its public safety mission.”

While the shellacking at the hearing was bipartisan, no Democrats signed onto Monday’s letter.