Animosity between the Chemical Safety Board and OSHA has reached “the boiling point” and was made public several months ago following the Chevron catastrophic explosion in California, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
California's lead investigator in the Chevron refinery fire investigation posted social-media comments accusing his federal peers of bias, media "grandstanding" and "scaring the public with half truths and misleading information."
Clyde Trombettas, district director for the state's refinery safety program in Northern California and the lead state investigator in the Aug. 6 fire, is openly critical of investigators with the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, which has intervened in the case.
His blunt comments appear on a public page open to anyone browsing Facebook and suggest friction over the focus and transparency of the investigation between safety board and Cal/OSHA. The two have been disputing which agency will serve as the lead n the probe, but have reached an agreement for "sustained cooperation."
The state agency has historically been very guarded in what it discloses about its investigation until releasing its findings, sometimes long after the event.
In the Richmond refinery fire, the federal safety board investigators have been more forthcoming in discussing their preliminary findings, and have said they want to know why Chevron chose not to replace the line that ruptured when it found corrosion in a nearby pipe last year. They declined to comment about the Facebook postings, according to the Chronicle.
Cal/OSHA recently announced that it had officially ruled out Chevron's fire truck - which was stationed within 70 feet of the leak - as the source of ignition of the giant vapor cloud.
CSB officials said they could not reach that conclusion because no one had examined the truck or verified it had such a valve or that it worked properly.