Former U.S. Department of Transportation administrator Vanessa Sutherland took charge of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board in March immediately after her nomination by President Obama received congressional confirmation.
The CSB is responsible for investigating accidents within the chemical and petrochemical industries.
“I am honored to begin my five-year term as Chemical Safety Board chairperson and member,” Sutherland said. “I look forward to a highly productive and collaborative experience with my fellow board members and the CSB’s staff.”
Sutherland took charge of the CSB three months earlier than expected after previous CSB chair Rafael Moure-Eraso resigned.
Since 2011, Sutherland has served as Chief Counsel for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) at the Transportation Department.
Her years at PHMSA gave her “a strong background and understanding of the functioning of government and, perhaps more importantly, the value of safety,” Sutherland said.
She also worked at the U.S. Department of Energy in the inspector general’s office. Sutherland also spent seven years at a Fortune 25 company managing technology transactions and procurement matters.
Sutherland holds a doctor of jurisprudence degree and a master of business administration from American University and a bachelor degree from Drew University.
“As I said at my confirmation hearing, I believe that safety is a shared responsibility,” she said. “That responsibility extends far beyond the corridors of K Street as well as a facility’s fence lines.”
A report issued in February by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general alleged that agency officials, including Moure-Eraso, violated the Federal Records Act by using an outside email system to conduct government business.
Following the EPA report, 14 members of the committee issued a letter to President Obama asking that Moure-Eraso be removed.
Moure-Eraso resigned in March despite having only three months left of his five-year term of office.