CSHIB appropriation in jeopardy

CSHIB appropriation in jeopardy

A congressional conference committee will decide whether the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSHIB) will be funded. The Senate recommended $4 million be appropriated for Fiscal Year 1998. The House has made no recommendation. Established in 1990 as an independent agency modeled after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the CSHIB is to investigate and report on the root causes of industrial chemical accidents that result in death, serious injury, or major property damage. None of the information provided by companies can be used to prosecute or litigate. The board`s objective is to prevent accidents.

President Clinton was to decide the first week in November (after press time) whether to use his line-item veto power to deny funding for the board. The appropriations bill would transfer $4 million from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish the chemical board. The administration has supported the new EPA/Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) program.

Bringing this issue to the spotlight is a 1995 chemical plant explosion in Lodi, New Jersey, that killed five people, the first case investigated under the EPA/ OSHA program. Critics charge that the Lodi report did not place blame on the individuals responsible for the explosion and also that the owner of the plant was allowed to review a draft of the report and revise it before it was released.

Although the CSHIB was created by Congress in 1990, board members were appointed only recently by President Clinton, and no funding has been made available so far.

The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is asking members of the fire service to support funding for the chemical safety board at the $4 million level as recommended by the Senate. For additional information, contact Bruce Beardmore, NVFC, (1-888) ASK-NVFC.

References: “Report on N.J. Blast Revives a Debate,” Rick Weiss, Washington Post Staff Writer, Oct. 23, 1997, page A21; NVFC release Sept. 11, 1997.

NFA announces courses for volunteers

The National Fire Academy is accepting applications for the February (1-6) and March (8-13) sessions of the following Volunteer Incentive Program courses:

Fire Service Planning Concepts for the 21st Century,

Fire Cause Determination for Company Officers, and

Hazardous Materials Incident Management.

“The Volunteer Incentive Chief Officers program has proven to be an excellent, affordable way of training and educating volunteer chief officers,” stresses Fred Windisch, chairman of the Volunteer Chief Officers Section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. “The Volunteer Section highly recommends this partnership [with the NFA]. It`s one method of receiving an additional tax refund.”

The federal government pays for travel to and from the campus, education materials, and lodging. The only cost is for a food ticket, which comes to about $80 for the six-day program.

To obtain an application or additional information, call (301) 447-1441 or (301) 447-1158.

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