Cong. George Miller (D-CA) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) of the House Education and Labor Committee sent a letter to the chair of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) urging him to take immediate action to make public all of their votes. It turns out that about 99% of the CSB’s votes are conducted through a “paper notation process, in which documents are circulated for individual voting without public discussion between Board members.” Thus, these paper deliberations are not subject to the Sunshine Act. Miller and Woolsey’s letter notes that the CSB has taken:
“approximately 720 notation votes since its inception, but with few exceptions, neither Congress nor the public knows the outcome because notation votes are not publicly disclosed or posted on the CSB website.”
Moreover, in a 2002 Inspector General report, the CSB was asked to post its notation votes on a public website. Cong. Miller and Woolsey wrote, “we are troubled that this recommendation was not implemented.” Besides chastizing the CSB’s Chairman and Board members, Miller and Woolsey offer worthwhile examples of federal agencies with much more transparent voting records: the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). They also give Mr. Bresland some specific marching orders and timelines for making public previous and future notation votes.