President Bush is nominating John S. Bresland as Chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, filling the seat soon to be vacated by Carolyn W. Merritt, whose five-year term expires August 2, the White House announced yesterday.

Bresland is currently a CSB board member, also preparing to complete a five-year term on August 2. In addition, the president will nominate C. Russell H. Shearer as a board member. Shearer is currently the Deputy Chief for Enforcement and Technical Matters in the Office of Health, Safety, and Security at the Department of Energy.

Both nominations are subject to Senate confirmation. “In the event the Senate has not acted on the nominations prior to August 2, the board has appropriate procedures in place to continue its operations under an interim executive,” said Chairman Merritt, who plans to retire and return to private life in Chicago in August.

In addition to Merritt and Bresland, the board has three sitting members, Gary L. Visscher, William B. Wark and William E. Wright.

The CSB is an independent federal agency that investigates industrial chemical accidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The board does not issue citations or fines but makes safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA.