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CSB ends appeal of ruling on chemical emissions disclosure

The Chemical Safety Board has dropped its appeal of a federal court decision that requires the agency to regulate the reporting of chemical emissions resulting from industrial incidents, according to a motion filed Aug. 8.

On Feb. 4, Judge Amit P. Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that CSB had to develop a final rule – within one year of his decision – that requires organizations to report chemical releases to the agency.

The lawsuit was filed in December 2017, about three months after a chemical release at an Arkema Inc. facility in Crosby, TX. After flooding from Hurricane Harvey caused an evacuation of the facility, organic peroxide products stored inside a formerly refrigerated trailer decomposed and caught fire.

Officials chose to keep a nearby highway open and, as a result, 21 people needed medical attention for exposure to hazardous fumes. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit included Air Alliance Houston, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

“This ruling vindicates a community’s basic right to know what chemical insult has been visited upon it,” PEER General Counsel Paula Dinerstein said in a Feb. 5 press release. “Accidents do not relieve industries of their clean air obligations or their duties to protect both worker and public health.”

CSB subsequently tried to get that decision reversed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

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