CSB chair nominee Vanessa Sutherland promises collaboration

Vanessa Sutherland

Washington – Vanessa Allen Sutherland recently told a Senate committee that she would be a transparent, team-oriented leader if confirmed as chairman of the Chemical Safety Board.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee conducted a hearing with Sutherland on April 22 in advance of the full Senate’s confirmation vote, which has yet to be scheduled. Sutherland was nominated by President Barack Obama on March 3.

If confirmed, Sutherland would succeed former CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso, who resigned March 26 amid scrutiny for alleged mismanagement and harassment at the agency.

Sutherland vowed to improve the agency with the help of its board, which Moure-Eraso allegedly sought to undermine. She has served since 2011 as chief counsel at the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

“I absolutely commit to being collaborative and understanding that what we do is as important as how we do it,” Sutherland said. “Chairs do not have unilateral authority to make all decisions for the board. I will collaborate and be collegial in making decisions that are going to affect the future and the efficiency of the agency.”

Committee ranking member Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said Sutherland is qualified for the job. “You have a daunting challenge, but a tremendous opportunity,” Boxer said at the hearing.