The Board is authorized by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and became operational in January 1998. The Senate legislative history states: "The principal role of the new chemical safety board is to investigate accidents to determine the conditions and circumstances which led up to the event and to identify the cause or causes so that similar events might be prevented."
Congress gave the CSB a unique statutory mission and provided in law that no other agency or executive branch official may direct the activities of the Board. Following the model of the National Transportation Safety Board and the United States Department of Transportation, Congress directed that the CSB's investigative function be completely independent of the rulemaking, inspection, and enforcement authorities of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as Congress recognized that Board investigations would identify chemical hazards that were not addressed by those agencies. The legislative history states:
Browner signs final air quality rules, touts flexibility for their implementation. (EPA Administrator Carol Browner)
Jul 17, 1997; As the Northeast suffered under another Code Red ozone alert -- and as House lawmakers hotly debated new air standards and agency...